The Complete Case for A.J. Pollock

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Hello all, on this fine September morn in the all-around awful year of 2016.

This post is designed to be a rebuttal to the very good argument by BWH that this offseason the A's should look to acquire Kevin Kiermaier from Tampa Bay, at the cost of Franklin Barreto and Grant Holmes. Certainly an interesting trade proposal, and one with obvious merits. The A's have struggled in recent seasons to accumulate rosters with players that can both hit the ball AND catch the ball. Offense AND defense? Unthinkable!

In fact, as some may recall, I expressed disgust earlier this season from our team's baffling decision to run out one of the worst defensive outfields of all time, with a combination of Khris Davis in LF, Coco Crisp in CF, and Burns in RF. If you smash all of them together in that machine Jeff Goldblum used in The Fly, the resulting monstrosity still wouldn't be able to throw a ball in from the outfield (but would be quite personable). Kiermaier is an odd fit. Yes, his amazing CF skills would really help - if he were flanked by Coco and Burns, or equivalent awfulness. Instead, the A's are looking to see Eibner and Brugman pick up time in the OF, and they're quite a lot better.

AJ Pollock was out for most of the 2016 season with a broken elbow suffered in Spring Training, but is back now. Any recurrences will be unrelated to the original injury, unless Pollock is like EX-ATHLETICS REDDICK AND COCO (still odd), and enjoys bashing into walls fielding fly balls. The largest ripple effect from Pollock being out isn't for himself, it's for the Diamondbacks being forced into a position to sell. (sorry D-Stew you're a better player than GM). And if the Shelby Miller trade and Greinke contracts are any indication, I'd prefer Beane+Co to trade with Arizona than Tampa.

Anyhoo, let's compare Pollock and Kiermaier 1:1 and see what we get.


26 years old, FA 2021

2016 stats: (.228/.311/.381, 7HR, 13 SB, 91 OPS+, 3.3 bWAR)

2015 stats: (.263/.298/.420, 10 HR, 18 SB, 100 OPS+ 7.3 bWAR, Gold Glove CF)

2014 stats: (.263/.315/.450, 10 HR, 5 SB, 117 OPS+, 3.6 bWAR)


28 years old, FA 2019

2016 stats: (.300/.364/.300, 22 Plate Appearances, 77 OPS+, 0.2 bWAR)

2015 stats: (.315/.367/.498, 20 HR, 39 SB, 130 OPS+, 7.4 bWAR, Gold Glove CF)

2014 stats: (.302/.353/.498, 7HR, 14 SB, 134 OPS+, 3.9 bWAR)

2013 stats: (.269/.322/.409, 8HR, 12 SB, 100 OPS+, 3.5 bWAR)

The first thing of note is contract - 3 seasons of Pollock versus 5 of Kiermaier. Other than that, they do have some similarities, with one glaring difference: Pollock is much better at hitting. Even during Kiermaier's remarkable 2015 season, he still only had an OPS+ of 100. Pollock's 134 is much more tasty, especially when coupled with 20 HR and 39 steals. In fact, other than CF defense (and not much mind you) I'd expect a Pollock/Kiermaier meeting to go something like this.

There are two things I believe about Franklin Barreto. The first is that he is likely the second coming of Ian Kinsler, and an above-average 2B for a long time. I also believe that the A's are okay to trade him. Wendle/Pinder is finally here, and I think the Pindle platoon will hold down the fort at the same rate that Barreto's top percentile would. We don't need him at SS due to the emergence of Semien, and Matt Chapman should be looking to break out the white cleats come 2017. If Barreto is not our CF of the future, he's a decent (albeit painful) trade chip.

I also would like to trade Grant Holmes. Dude could very well be an ace someday, but someday is a ways away, and low-minors pitching prospects are not my favorite type of lottery ticket.

So, here's the proposal for three affordable seasons of AJ Pollock:

Barreto + Holmes + Hahn + Fernando Rodriguez.

It's not nothing - Pollock is quite possibly a top-3 CF in the sport if he is fully recovered from his elbow injury. But it seems a fair price to pay for the leadoff CF that can carry this team to three consecutive world series wins in 2017/2018/2019 IMO. It also uses Hahn and Rodriguez as trade chips instead of us simply dumping them, as seems possible now.

Now, bear in mind that I am absolutely dreadful at evaluating baseball trades, but so is Dave Stewart (how many cheap shots are too many cheap shots?) and I think this seems about right. Pollock is a top outfielder coming off a missed season on a garbage team that needs to rebuild. Let's snag him.