With the Cincinnati Reds said to be interested in trading for Sonny Gray, the team would still have a good amount of money left in their budget. Could they go after A.J. Pollock in order to upgrade the outfield?
The Cincinnati Reds outfield seems very crowded at the moment. After making a trade last year that added Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the roster, Cincinnati now has five and, if you include Nick Senzel, six outfielders who could potentially start next season. Would they add yet another?
Hear me out. The most recent trade rumors have the Cincinnati Reds, along with a few other teams, interested in acquiring Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees. Gray settled on a salary of $7.5M for next season, so that would fit very comfortably into the Reds 2019 budget. With money still available to spend, would the Reds then turn their sights to the best available centerfielder on the market?
A.J. Pollock has had an up and down career thus far, mainly due to injury, but when he’s healthy he’s one of the better all-around centerfielders in the Major Leagues. Last season, Pollock hit .257 with 21 homers and 65 RBIs. In 2015, when he was available to play in 157 games, Pollock went to his first All-Star Game and won a Gold Glove while slashing .315/.367/.498.
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The Cincinnati Reds do not have a true centerfielder on their roster at this time. Yes, Scott Schebler and Yasiel Puig are both capable of doing so. Phillip Ervin, while he shouldn’t be viewed as an every day player, is definitely capable of playing the position. And just a few days ago, I even advocated for Nick Senzel to start the season in centerfield for the Reds.
All those players provide options, but Pollock is the best available player to fill that void. However, he won’t come cheap. MLB Trade Rumors predicted earlier this season that Pollock could sign a 4 year deal worth $60 million. Do the Reds really want spend $15M a year on a position that is well represented in their farm system?
The Reds No. 2 prospect, Taylor Trammell, is rocketing up the through the Minor Leagues and could make his Major League debut next season. Though some scouts view him as a left fielder due to questions over his arm, there’s no doubt that his speed would allow him to play centerfield.
The Reds also have players like TJ Friedl and Jose Siri, who are both likely to either the start the season in Triple-A Louisville or at least be promoted to the Bats by the end of the year. Siri is already on the Reds 40-man roster.
With talent like this in the Minor Leagues, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Cincinnati Reds to snag a player like Pollock in free agency, even though their budget may allow it. If they’re still looking for a stopgap until some of their Minor League talent matures, Adam Jones is still available, and as we said earlier, there are internal options already.