We take a look at former All-Star A.J. Pollock, who the Seattle Mariners have reportedly signed to a one-year, $7 million deal.
In a case of perception being reality, the signing of Pollock will likely be a polarizing one for Mariners fans. For some he is a potent bat against left-handed pitchers, while for others he represents an underwhelming addition.
Regardless of opinion on the 35-year-old, he is projected to go into the starting line-up, splitting time between DH and the outfield. Here are five things to know about Seattle’s latest addition:
1) While at the University of Notre Dame, Pollock was ranked by Baseball America as the league’s second-best MLB prospect and best pure hitter for 2009. He would go on to be picked 17th overall that year, by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2) The Hebron, Connecticut native made his Major League debut in 2012, and went on to play in 31 games that year. He would appear in 137 games during the following season, but then see his 2014 campaign cut short by injury.
3) Pollock finally broke out in 2015, when he was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove Award. He set career highs with 76 RBI, a .315 batting average and .367 OBP.
4) The former All-American would move on to the Dodgers and spend three years with them between 2019-21. The highlight was undoubtedly winning the World Series in 2020.
5) Pollock’s main asset is his ability to excel against left-handed pitching. He has a career .533 slugging percentage and .868 OPS versus southpaws.
There will likely be concern among some, given Pollock’s struggles during his lone season in Chicago in 2022. He set career single-season lows for OBP (.292), slugging percentage (.389) and OPS (.681).
However, it’s worth noting the former White Sox player was still extremely effective just a year earlier, in Los Angeles. He set a personal best 21 home runs, his 69 RBI were the second-most of his career, while his .297 batting average was third-highest during his time in the Majors.
In a confirmed roster move, the Mariners have traded for right-handed pitcher Justin Topa from the Brewers. In exchange, they have sent minor league pitcher Joseph Hernandez to Milwaukee.
Topa made seven appearances for the Brewers in 2022, going 0–0 with a 4.91 ERA in 7.1 innings, with four walks and four strikeouts. His year was compromised by a right forearm flexor strain, which placed him on the injured list and caused him to miss more than half the season.
The 31-year-old made his Major League debut in 2020, with the Brewers. In three seasons he has compiled a 0-1 record and 8.35 ERA in 18.1 innings, with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 17 appearances.
What is your opinion on the signing of Pollock? How effective do you predict he will be for the Seattle Mariners in 2023? Let us know in the comments section below.