Will AJ Pollock be a White Sox in 2023?

Despite the White Sox season being expired like that old carton of 2% in the back of your fridge, there are still many story lines and topics to discuss. Last night, after attending win #80 for our heroes and shuffling home amongst a meager attending crowd, I decided to toggle between CHGO’s postgame coverage with my guys Herb Lawrence and Sean Anderson and listening in on my pal Josh Nelson’s Twitter Spaces, which featured Jordan Lazowski and James Fox.

During the Twitter Spaces, a recorded version of which you can listen to above, I heard some fairly outrageous commentary. I should’ve just joined the conversation to stomp out this silliness, but realistically I was sitting on my couch in my underwear smashing a couple of pb & j sammies, so I really wasn’t in the mental space to do so…..but it went something like this.

When Josh Nelson got to the topic of will AJ Pollock be a White Sox in 2023, he threw it to Jordan Lazowski……

Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Just to level set here, AJ Pollock has a binary choice 10 days after the season ends, he can take $5 million and say good bye to the White Sox. His other choice is to take $13 million (up from $10 million due to the fact that he has reached 500 plate appearances) and be a White Sox player in 2023.

Anywho, Jordan begins (and I am paraphrasing), “It might be the meatball in me, but I think he’s going to take the $5 million and walk away, it shouldn’t be that hard for him to get $8 million or possibly more in the open market“. This was shocking commentary to say the least, as AJ Pollock has been less than stellar for the 2022 White Sox, posting a 94 OPS+ and 0.9 bWAR over 523 plate appearances. He’s also going to be 35 in December and been downright ugly versus right handed pitching with a .233 / .286 / .311 line good for a 71 OPS+.

Possibly the most shocking part is that Nelson doubles down and agrees with Lazowski that he too thinks that AJ Pollock will find greener pastures elsewhere. I was taken aback. Had I not seen what was a very blech, meh, performance from a guy that is on the wrong side of 30, that can’t really run or play defense anymore and doesn’t hit right handed pitching?

Stathead to the Rescue!!

Table is from Stathead which is Baseball References pay database, it’s awesome!

Above is a table I cut of all the age 34 seasons of the last 44 years where an outfielder had a 1.0 bWAR or lower and registered 500 Plate Appearances. As you can see we are already in pretty rare territory (never mind the disparity in AJ Pollock, I ran this last night and the morning updates shifted his numbers a bit, doesn’t matter).

That’s a star studded list, but let’s check in on what happened after those seasons for our contestants…..

Pollock and Tommy Pham are easy, those seasons are happening right now, so no need to critique those ones. Charlie Blackmon is also still in the midst of his big deal and his similar season happened only a year ago, so we’ll also put that one in our pocket. Now, let’s look at the rest…..

Current Deal Expired, Small Veteran Deal

Photo from NBC Sports

Those players would be Hunter Pence, Bernie Williams, George Foster and Dale Murphy. Arguably all of these players are more accomplished than Pollock. Pence is the poster boy for this situation as he got not one, but two small veteran deals after his big deal ran out. It’s also most applicable because it is most recent, he got $2 million at age 36 in 2019 and $3 million at age 37 in 2020. Those are pretty far away from $8 million dollars. Bad news for the boys, these are the best case scenarios for the group.

Finished Out Current Deal and were DONE!

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 23: Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Houston Astros 8-6. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

These guys finished out their current deal and were allowed to play golf in perpetuity, Darryl Hamilton, Carlos Lee (sorry KenWo), Alfonso Soriano and Dante Bichette. You are bad, but we still have to pay you….and then when we don’t have to pay you, we ain’t paying you no more.

Out of Baseball in the next 12 months…

Both Scott Podsednik and Kosuke Fukudome were basically cooked after their 34 year old seasons, they both caught on for a second on league min type deals but were quickly asked to not show up anymore.

So in conclusion it looks like AJ Pollock passing on this $13 million dollars might be a little more avant garde move than our auspicious twitter spaces speakers would have you believe. Good thing your drunk uncle was motivated enough to think this through in his underwear while hitting a late nice snack.

-BeefLoaf

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