After trading away Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to clear a logjam in their outfield, the Los Angeles Dodgers explored the idea of adding Bryce Harper to a group that already included Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson.
A signing never materialized, however, as he wound up signing a historic 13-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason. The Dodgers brought in a familiar face instead, inking longtime Arizona Diamondbacks stalwart A.J. Pollock to a four-year deal.
The hope was that his presence could mitigate the club’s previous struggles against left-handed pitching and balance out the lineup. Pollock appeared in only 86 games for the Dodgers this past season, missing most of the first half as a result of undergoing surgery on his right elbow.
When he was on the field, the 31-year-old was mostly inconsistent at the plate, struggling early on before finding success later in the season. Pollock’s defense also took a hit, which prompted a change in positions by the end of the year.
Looking to bounce back and return to form on both ends, Pollock has prioritized becoming more versatile this offseason, via Pedro Moura of The Athletic:
He was never quite right in 2019, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated this week that Pollock is working on becoming more flexible this offseason.
Pollock opened the 2019 season as the Dodgers’ everyday center fielder, appearing in 62 games at the position. His defense suffered a drop-off as the year progressed, leading Bellinger to shift over from right field by the start of September.
From that point on, Pollock received the bulk of his opportunities in left field. It was a position he hardly played during his time with the Diamondbacks, lining up there for only 34 games over the course of seven seasons.
Pollock enjoyed a slight improvement in left field compared to his previous work in center, but still graded out poorly according to various advanced metrics. He was eventually relegated to a bench role for Games 4 and 5 of the National League Division Series after failing to record a hit in 13 at-bats.
Matt Beaty and Kiké Hernandez were the beneficiaries, receiving starts at the position in Pollock’s absence.
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