MLB Free Agency: Potential landing spots for A.J. Pollock

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 02: AJ Pollock #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks gets ready in the batters box against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on May 2, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 02: AJ Pollock #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks gets ready in the batters box against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on May 2, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 18: A.J. Pollock #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks plays during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on August 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

The top outfielder in MLB free agency is clear, but the former Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder could be the #2 outfielder on the market. Where could he fit?

On Sunday, it was reported that former Diamondbacks’ center fielder A.J. Pollock is looking for an $80 million deal in MLB free agency. This should be treated with a grain of salt, as Sam Miller found two years ago that a player, on average, receives 87.5% of what he is reported as “seeking.” That unscientific estimate would put Pollock at $70 million, which would still be significantly higher than the estimate from MLB Trade Rumors, which pegs Pollock to get a four-year, $60 million deal.

It is certainly possible that Pollock is able to make more than expected this offseason, as the market for center fielders is barren. However, Pollock’s injury history could give pause to teams looking to upgrade in the outfield.

Pollock has only played more than 140 games once in his career, and he hasn’t topped 120 since 2015, missing almost the entirety of 2016 with a fractured elbow. Dexter Fowler and Lorenzo Cain, two outfielders whose recent $80 million-plus deals are clearly the inspiration for Pollock’s demands, showed greater ability to stay on the field before signing their monster deals.

That said, when Pollock is on the field, he has shown elite skills. Before going to the DL in mid-May of 2018, Pollock was receiving early-season MVP buzz, putting up a .293/.349/.620 line with 11 home runs in just 40 games. In his career, Pollock rates as 13-percent better than offense according to wRC+, Fangraphs’ all-encompassing, park-adjusted metric.

Whether or not Pollock is able to reach his lofty contract demands, there are certainly teams that could use his bat at a premium position, and let’s take a look at where he would fit best.