When the decision was made by Rick Hahn to pick up the Craig Kimbrel option and try to trade him, I did not think the White Sox would get much in that deal. You can see what I thought they’d get here. So when Hahn was able to get AJ Pollock from the Dodgers, I was happy with the deal. Sure AJ might get hurt, but there was a chance that he might actually be able to fill the right field void.
That simply has not come to fruition. So much so, that I probably should retract my apology. While I won’t do that, I will say that the time has come to designate him for assignment. In simpler terms, cut bait.
I know this is a strange thing to say the night after Pollock doubled and Luis Robert got hurt, but honestly, AJ Pollock is a redundant part on this team when not providing power and/or defense. As you probably know, he has a player option at the end of this season for $10M in 2023 or a $5M buy-out. Since it is a player option, it’s completely up to him and he’ll likely take the $10M rather than test free agency after the season he’s having. What you might not know is that he is 62 plate appearances away from that option escalating to $11M and another $1M for every 50 plate appearances after that.
Now, let’s be clear, I ain’t out here trying to save Jerry money. But every $1M added to this will be another reason for him to exercise the option AND for Rick Hahn to keep him on the roster in 2023. That’s not something I want, at all.
Who gets his PAs?
This is actually a two part answer. The first part is the more obvious, which is Adam Engel. Coming into the season, I would have figured Engel to be a slightly better defender and much worse hitter than Pollock. Still valuable, however, as there should be an assumption with Pollock that he will miss time throughout the year. However, Engel has performed much better in the field with a +2 Outs Above Average as opposed to Pollock’s -4 OAA. And from the hitting side, they’re nearly identical statistically: Engel .632 OPS, 79 OPS+, 80 WRC+ and Pollock .638 OPS, 81 OPS+, 81 WRC+
The second part of this is a bit more interesting to me. Since Pollock is really just one of many below average fielding outfielders on the White Sox, there isn’t a lot of reason to bring up another outfielder. Instead, I’d use this roster spot to bring Jake Burger back into our lives. Burger would bring much needed power to the team with plate appearances here and there, when optimal. Specifically, any time a left handed pitcher is on the mound and especially if Gavin Sheets is up.