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The Blue Jays’ offseason retooling is almost complete.

After trading Teoscar Hernández to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson, Toronto added Kevin Kiermaier and Chris Bassitt via free agency, filling two obvious needs.

The Jays’ latest move—trading Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for Daulton Varsho—has neatly capped off the winter transformation many fans hoped for.

General manager Ross Atkins insisted this offseason’s "heavy lifting" was finished, though he added the club wanted to fill Gurriel’s spot with an additional position player. Such a move is more about "the fit," Atkins said, rather than fixating on a left-handed or right-handed upgrade.

Toronto could use another outfielder. Free agent AJ Pollock could be the guy.

The Bat (Lefty Masher)

Pollock’s career .276/.332/.469 slash line is excellent. But anyone who knows the 35-year-old understands that his hitting profile is buoyed heavily by his ability to crush left-handed pitching. Pollock owns a career .868 OPS against lefties, with his slugging jumping from .442 versus righties to .533 versus southpaws. He’s a true lefty killer with thunderous amounts of pop.

Last season, the Blue Jays ranked 10th in baseball with a.753 OPS against left-handed pitchers, but they only hit 42 home runs, ranking 19th. Hernández’s .978 OPS versus southpaws in 2022 was the best on the club. He plays for Seattle now. Pollock’s .935 OPS versus LHPs in 2022 would restore the loss.

Breaking balls have miffed Pollock over the last two seasons, but he continues to hunt the heater (as seen in the chart below expressing average exit velocity).


The Connecticut native is a supreme platoon man suddenly made perfect for the 2023 Blue Jays, as he could spell Kiermaier or Varsho versus lefties. The bat is an excellent fit.

The Glove (Not Bad)

After pairing George Springer with Kiermaier and Varsho, the Blue Jays constructed arguably the most dominant defensive outfield in the majors. Perhaps the club is willing to overlook Pollock's outfield shortcomings.

A year ago, Pollock profiled as a below-average left fielder (-2 OAA), which is where he’d likely spend most of his time in Toronto. Those numbers play into his career average (-4 OAA from 2016 to 2021). According to Baseball Savant, he has solid speed but is bogged down by below-average jumps.

As far as the arm goes, Pollock would do just fine. His 89.1 mph average throw velocity (sorted by Savant’s calculation of a player’s top throws) is a plus tool, and he’d easily replace Gurriel’s value on defense.

The glove isn’t a beautiful fit, but it’s certainly not decimating his value to the point Toronto can’t start him in left field for a playoff game, for example. Pollock brings marginal value on defense.

The Price (One-year Deal?)

This is the real doozy for the Blue Jays. Pollock earned an average of $15.33 million per year from 2020 to 2022 before being bought out by Chicago this offseason for $5 million.

Spotrac, an excellent sports salary resource, suggests Pollock is worthy of a $12.8-million average annual value on his next deal. The website’s algorithm sees him landing a two-year, $25.68 million contract, which likely wouldn’t interest Toronto. If the Jays front office could work him down to a one-year, $7-8 million offer, would he bite on that?

That may not entice Pollock enough, as he represents one of the better outfield options remaining in free agency. But if the Blue Jays sweeten things by boosting the cash to $10 million for one year, maybe things get moving.