The Los Angeles Dodgers have seen their outfield picture go from surplus at the outset of the offseason to perhaps a position of need after the team included Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.
Both prior to and during free agency, the Dodgers have been among the teams connected to Bryce Harper. Despite their reported interest, it appears the cost and length of contract that Harper is seeking ended up being too much for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers instead shifted their focus to free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock, and it appears they got their man as Pollock reportedly signed a four-year contract with the Dodgers on Thursday morning. Incentives and options on the contract could take it to five years, or shorten it to three according to various reports.
Now that Pollock is in the Dodgers’ outfield mix, he is expected to be the team’s primary center fielder with Cody Bellinger utilizing his versatility to play the corners as well as first base. Additionally, it does not appear that the team is close to trading Joc Pederson despite him being involved in rumors earlier this week, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
#Dodgers figured they would be elite vs. RHPs, mediocre vs. LHPs; hence, motivation for Pollock. Plan is for him to be primary CFer, with Bellinger moving between CF, corner OF, 1B. LAD will have depth to rest regulars. Per sources, team not close to trading Pederson at moment.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2019
Pollock won a Gold Glove in center field in 2015 and has played 559 of his 639 career games at that position, so it makes sense that the Dodgers want to keep him there.
Friedman’s next focus may be on trading for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, and with Pollock now on the team, other outfielders like Pederson, Alex Verdugo and Andrew Toles may become expendable in a trade for Realmuto.
If the Marlins are not interested in Pederson, then Friedman is known to be creative by adding a third team to the mix to make a deal possible.