Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock turned in a career season in 2015, and the team rewarded him financially as a result.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine, the Diamondbacks and Pollock avoided arbitration Monday with a two-year, $10.25 million deal.
Gilbert also shared a quote from Pollock: “It's an exciting time to be a Diamondback. I'm glad to get the business side taken care of and focus on helping this team win.”
Jeff Todd of MLBTradeRumors.com added some context to Monday’s news:
And for Pollock, he won’t have to worry about injury or a performance decline sapping his earning power for 2017. Certainly, the new deal builds in a substantial raise for the burgeoning star. He’ll be promised nearly a $6.5MM raise — assuming the filing numbers’ midpoint as a baseline for 2016 — for the added season covered in the pact. ... A longer-term arrangement still seems plausible for the 28-year-old, who cemented himself as the D-Backs’ center fielder with an excellent 2015 campaign. If nothing else, the major raise baked into the deal suggests that the team doesn’t expect him to fall off in the coming year.
As long as that falloff doesn’t come, the Diamondbacks will get what they paid for. Pollock appeared in 157 games in 2015, which was a significant increase in playing time after he tallied a combined 243 games in his first three seasons (31 in 2012, 137 in 2013 and 75 in an injury-marred 2014).
Pollock finished with a .315 batting average, 20 home runs and 76 RBI at the plate. He also stole 39 bases, scored 111 runs and turned in an OPS of .865 and WAR of 7.4, per ESPN.com. All of those numbers were career highs, and the outfielder earned his first All-Star nod as one of the league’s best all-around center fielders.
Pollock did more than provide on the offensive side, as the WAR number indicates. He won his first career Gold Glove in 2015 and was responsible for 14 total defensive runs saved above average in the outfield, per FanGraphs.
If Pollock replicates or even improves on his 2015 numbers, it will mean critical production for a team that could challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the loaded National League West.
Arizona has bolstered its pitching staff with the additions of reliever Tyler Clippard and starters Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller in the offseason. Considering the Diamondbacks were eighth in the big leagues in runs scored last year, even a marginal improvement on the majors' 16th-best team ERA could be the formula for a strong season.
With Paul Goldschmidt as one of the best offensive players in baseball, Pollock as an all-around star in the outfield and Greinke leading the way for a formidable pitching staff, Arizona could reach the postseason for the first time since the 2011 campaign.