clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Should I Stay or Should I Go: AJ Pollock

Nick Madrigal is the gift that keeps on giving

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Sort of like sinking in quicksand ...
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

fWAR: 0.7
bWAR: 0.6
WARP: 1.5

He should stay Unfortunately, it’s not really up to the White Sox front office, as Pollock holds a player option for 2023 that has now swelled to a whopping $13 million he is almost certainly going to exercise. Amazingly, Pollock had his healthiest season in years, managing more than 500 PAs for only the second time in his career (and first since 2015) and provided veteran ballast around the triage that was the White Sox outfield. Pollock covered all three outfield positions in a pinch and finished behind only José Abreu in games played on the 2022 squad. Pollock still brought double-digit home run power to a team that had serious deficiencies with the long ball, and had two straight seasons of an OPS+ of better than 130 before coming to the South Side, so the bat at least has some believable upside.

He should go $13 million is a lot to pay for a player that was a little below-average at basically every facet of the game (hitting, fielding, running), and that’s gonna be a big chunk out of the 2023 budget barring a further payroll boost (lol). Health was a boon this season, but Pollock’s track record in that regard suggests that’s not bound to repeat. Health did not help his stats any or prevent him from having probably the worst complete season of his career.

The verdict The folly of picking up the Craig Kimbrel option will continue to haunt this team in 2023. While the trade did not really work out for anybody involved, at least the Dodgers were able to move on from it after 2022, while the White Sox are left with a financial millstone in Pollock. Unless Pollock is so disenchanted with playing for the White Sox that he’s willing to give up about $3 to $5 million in guaranteed money just to play elsewhere, he’s a virtual lock to return, and his salary will be nigh-immovable except to acquire another underwater asset or without eating significant money.

The team’s best bet is just to hope for a rebound, as they won’t be able to trade for any worthwhile salary relief or players, and he’s not far removed from being a plus player. Whether Pollock will be relegated to fourth outfielder duty by a new arrival or pressed into service once again as the Opening Day right fielder is anybody’s guess, but the likelihood is he will once again be Plan A with the front office hoping to flip the script to an up-and-coming player like Oscar Colás, Yoelqui Céspedes, or even Romy González at the earliest opportunity. Hope you all like fish.