AJ Pollock seems like a natural fit for the Reds outfield woes

Chicago White Sox outfielder AJ Pollock.
Chicago White Sox outfielder AJ Pollock. / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

AJ Pollock will be testing the free agent waters once again. The former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was traded to the Chicago White Sox shortly before the 2022 season began.

Pollock chose, instead of picking up his $13M player-option, to take the $5M buyout and become a free agent. The 35-year-old will likely be looking to re-establish his value after a down-year.

This was the same dilemma that Tommy Pham faced last season. The Cincinnati Reds swooped in late in the spring and signed Pham to a one-year deal. Eventually, Pham was dealt to the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline. Should the Reds make an attempt to sign Pollock this winter?

AJ Pollock seems like a natural fit for the Reds outfield woes.

It may be too painful to remember, but prior to the 2019 season, the Cincinnati Reds were said to be very interested in two high-level free agents; left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel and centerfielder AJ Pollock.

Keuchel, who's a free agent once again, signed with the Atlanta Braves midway through the 2019 season and Pollock inked a four-year/$55M contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds, instead, opted to trade for Sonny Gray and turn infield prospect Nick Senzel into a centerfielder.

In hindsight, trading for Gray and avoiding Keuchel seems like the best possible move the Reds could have made. However, center field is still a gigantic hole in the Reds lineup and there's a slim chance that Senzel is actually non-tendered next week.

Pollock did not have the best year in the Windy City. Hitting just .245/.292/.389. His 91 OPS+ in 2022 was the lowest it had been in six years. Pollock is not the same player he once was, but let's face it, the Reds are not looking for All-Star talent in free agency.

But the Reds need outfielders, especially outfielders who can hit well against left-handed pitching. Jake Fraley can hold his own against right-handers, but southpaws were the outfielder's Kryptonite in 2022. Pollock, on the other hand, struggled against right-handed pitching, but dominated lefties to the tune of .288/.360/.512.

If the Cincinnati Reds do indeed part ways with Aristides Aquino and maybe even Nick Senzel, the team will be in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder. While AJ Pollock no longer plays Gold Glove caliber defense, the Connecticut native can handle his business on the outfield grass.

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