D-backs FA outfielder A.J. Pollock’s status, FA market remain at standstill
Less than a month remains until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, but a number of high-profile free agents have yet to sign contracts. Among these players is Diamondbacks free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock, who remains without a team deep into the offseason.
Pollock was considered one of the premier players on the market headed into free agency this year, but he has not seen the type of interest that many people expected him to see. According to USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightengale, this may be due to the drawn-out negotiations surrounding Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the two biggest names still available right now.
“People say the market’s hung up because of Machado and Harper, but I think the only guy that’s hung up with that is Pollock,” Nightengale told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I think the teams that don’t get a Harper and Machado can certainly turn to him, so I think he’s a guy that may have to wait, because when you have a chance to get one of the big boys, you’re not going to get Pollock, you’re going to hold off.”
Nightengale did not mention who he feels Pollock will ultimately end up with, but he did throw out a couple of teams that could be in play for him should they strike out on the two stars at the top.
“If the White Sox don’t get one of those two guys, I could see him there,” Nightengale said. “I could see him with the Phillies as well if for some reason they don’t get Harper. I don’t discount Atlanta having a super-type of outfield. I think it’s wide open.”
A return to the desert for Pollock still looks unlikely, though, especially with the team reportedly agreeing to a deal with Wilmer Flores on Wednesday, which could end up moving Ketel Marte to Pollock’s old center field spot.
Slow markets like Pollock’s have become commonplace over the last couple of offseasons, as teams have become more willing to wait out free agents in hopes that they can get better value on their contracts.
Teams have also become a lot more wary of giving out long-term contracts to older players, as they have seen such deals backfire a number of different times in the past.
“It’s almost at the point where we need a deadline for some of these things that drag out,” Nightengale said. “In the NFL and the NBA, people are jumping out and signing right and left right away, but this one is just a slow process. It’s almost like teams are saying ‘You know what, we want you guys to come to us. We have the money here, and if you don’t take it early, we’ll see if it’s there later on.'”