Many would still like to see the New York Mets add one more bat. The Darin Ruf upgrade hasn’t happened yet. While Daniel Vogelbach’s platoon partner may simply be any of the right-handed hitters the club already has, fans are hopeful another outfielder is added to the roster. This could give them a bench of a backup catcher, Eduardo Escobar, Luis Guillorme, and one guy for the outfielder.
Unsigned at the moment, AJ Pollock is a name frequently appearing on social media. The veteran outfielder is a free agent and a logical fit for the Mets with one major exception.
Pollock did have a deal with the Chicago White Sox for this season, but he opted out of the $13 million. Frequently injured and a .245/.292/.389 hitter last season for the White Sox, he doesn’t seem to fit in with the role the Mets could look to fill.
Signing with the Mets would be a bad move for AJ Pollock’s playing time and bank account
Opting out of his deal with Chicago, unless he just really didn’t want to be there, likely means Pollock is looking for a multi-year contract or a one-year deal worth more than $13 million. The Mets already have three starting outfielders. Even if you wanted to replace Mark Canha with Pollock, they suddenly have a $10+ million player on the bench.
Pollock hasn’t been a particularly good defensive player in recent seasons. His transition from center field into more of a corner outfielder has given him numbers closer to league average. He turned 35 earlier this month and, frankly, probably should have stayed put in Chicago. Perhaps the freedom of choice over getting traded by the White Sox was more important to him than money.
There are many teams that can offer Pollock far more playing time than he’d get with the Mets. Steve Cohen can pay him well without concern, but even that doesn’t seem too likely. The Amazins are spending a lot on many players yet never going too high over asking price. Collectively, the payroll is high. No one player on the roster seems to be taking in a ridiculous salary. It’s not as if they’re paying Danny Mendick $10 million to be infield depth.
Signing Pollock would be similar to when the Mets brought in Kevin Pillar for the 2021 season. Pillar was actually several years younger (32) than Pollock will be in 2023. He had actually put together a very good 2020 season before coming to New York. In 2019, he had one of his best offensive seasons.
Pollock becomes a more realistic match for the Mets the moment it’s clear he isn’t chasing money or even playing time. The blue and orange can offer him a chance at a championship and some cash. Does he really turn down $13 million for about half the amount to come to Queens and sit regularly? Handing him two guaranteed seasons doesn’t line up with the option on Canha or idea of Brett Baty playing left field next year.
Pollock won't get near $13 million from anyone. Those other teams can, however, give him a lot more time on the field than the Mets can. Let's see what he wants.