AJ Pollock left a little money in Chicago

One open question from October resolved itself on Saturday during the #108Day festivities when AJ Pollock signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Mariners.

The amount? $7 million … or $1 million less than he would’ve made had he exercised his option with the White Sox.

Pollock, for those foggy on the details, declined the $13 million club option at the end of the season to accept a $5 million buyout. At the time, I wrote that it didn’t seem like a financially optimal decision, because a 35-year-old platoon outfielder didn’t seem like a great candidate for an $8 million deal.

That ended up being true enough, but if Pollock was concerned about being blocked or traded, and preferred to have more say in his role and landing spot, then $1 million might’ve been a fair fee for such autonomy.

Meanwhile, Pollock did the White Sox a favor of freeing them from the obligation of working around/trying to move that $13 million salary, because Andrew Benintendi will only require $11 million for the first season of his five-year deal. The White Sox needed months to resolve the Craig Kimbrel situation after exercising his option, and Pollock would’ve required a similar amount of effort to move, at least without throwing in money. The straightforward solution of a quality free agent signing is a lot more enjoyable.

As a bonus, Pollock avoided signing with a direct competitor. Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic had pointed to Pollock as the best candidate remaining to shore up Minnesota’s outfield situation, and the runners-up require more work to accommodate.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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AJ took less money to not be apart of the sox organization… that says something

Hot rumor seems to be crochet for torres…. could see it making sense for both clubs, 4 years of a high upside dominant bullpen arm for a pretty good 2nd basemen who would give the sox lineup a power boost , plus torres could cover ss in a bind…


I think it says the price elasticity of a journeyman contract after earning more than $70M is on the order of $1M or less considering the time value of money and the opportunity to earn interest on the buy out rather than waiting for it as periodic payments.

Add to that the ability to pick your landing spot rather that being at the whims of the trade market and it seems like a relatively low financial impact for a fair bit of piece of mind.


Does it say something? I’m not convinced. I put this in my OPP: there were real, financial reasons for Pollock to opt-out, even if he couldn’t get to $13m. The difference in $1-3m now is quite small if Pollock starts somewhere and recoups value. If he’s good in Seattle, he’ll get a contract worth a lot more than he did this year. With the Sox clearly ready to move on, he wasn’t going to get that chance in Chicago. Based only on financial incentives, I think the opt-out was the right call.

Now Nightengale is reporting there are about $3m in performance incentives on this deal, too. So, it’s plausible he eclipses $13m this year, anyway.

Of course, Pollock may have hated this organization. But we can’t conclude that from the opt-out.


he got over 500 at bats with the sox, he is gonna be on the 1/3 side of a platoon in seattle im not sure how his value is gonna increase by not starting many games

Bonus Baby

He also now avoids state income tax on home games. Washington has no income tax and Illinois’ rate is a flat 4.95%.

Augusto Barojas

I respect Pollock, whatever his reasons were. Some things are more important to him than money. The same cannot be said about Reindorf and friends.

People don’t want to see the obvious. It’s not just fans that see the Sox as a clown organization, it’s obvious to everyone. Pollock played under TLR for a full season and had to be like “wtf is this”. I doubt he was the only unhappy player in their clubhouse last year, they played like they didn’t have a heartbeat as a team for the whole season. Not fun, not hard to understand why someone would want to leave.

He has a much better shot at October baseball with the M’s, so good for him.


Yeah, clearly at the end of his career AJ more concerned with being in a situation he likes than one where he’s trying to get every last cent.


Right, he got over 500 ABs last year when he was acquired to be the starting LF, coming off a strong year, and in a year in which the Sox OF was both terrible and riddled with injuries. I think it’s safe to say the outlook is different in 2023. Pollock’s path to playing time with the Sox was murky at best.

With the M’s, he’s likely the Opening Day LF. His so-called “platoon partners” you allude to are struggling prospects. I’d expect Pollock to get plenty of looks vs. RHP. Steamer likes Pollock’s bat more than either Trammel or Kelenic. His path to playing time is much clearer.

Whatever you think about his prospects in Seattle, there’s simply no doubt that there is a strong financial case for Pollock opting out. There’s a financial higher ceiling with the opt-out—both long- and short- term—and still a very high financial floor. At most, he was risking leaving $3-4m on the table in exchange for better playing time prospects elsewhere.


I would love to see them make that deal: Crochet for Gleyber. Oft-injured bullpen arm for a potential high upside 2B. If there is one thing the Sox are okay at as an org, it’s developing serviceable bullpen arms at the MLB level. Crochet would not be missed too much imo. They allocated good money for high leverage BP vets. They just need to do what they were brought onboard to do. Fix the lineup holes during the contention window. I don’t believe we should use the all-star closer to make it happen. But Crochet? Hell yes! 🙌

Bonus Baby

I’d make this trade, too, but I doubt it’s going to happen. Torres will make about $10M this year, which I think we all expect JR will not allow without some cuts elsewhere. Hendriks for Torres on the other hand actually lowers payroll by a few million, and I kind of expect the Yankees would prefer Hendriks to Crochet anyway.

Augusto Barojas

Crochet didn’t pitch at all in 2022, and won’t even be ready to start the season. Getting relievers that are not ready to start the season, that’s what Hahn does (Kelly), not the Yankees.

I think laughable nonsense from Levine. It would take at least Liam, the Yankees aren’t taking Crochet for a 4 WAR player, with Crochet coming off TJ surgery. I mean come on now.


Gleyber is not as good as this billing. He’s never cracked 4 fWAR and has only once been over 3 fWAR. He’s still above-average, averaging 2.6 fWAR per 600 PA across his career, but he’s not been playing to that 4-WAR level ascribed to him since 2019.

As Cirensica

Still, a massive upgrade in 2B. Yankees won’t do that deal, but it’d be a no brainer for the White Sox


I don’t think it’s one-sided. I think the Yanks would consider it if Crochet were looking real good again and they felt like their MIF prospects were about ready… a healthy Crochet is a rare multi-inning lefty bullpen weapon.

Augusto Barojas

I agree that Gleyber is not fantastic. Specifically, he kills lefties but is not great vs RHP. He would be way better than what they have, but would not help their biggest weakness in a huge way. And he was not very good in 2020 or 2021 actually.

Still, hard to picture a team like the Yankees trading a 2b who played a lot for them and is coming off a good season for somebody who is recovering from TJ surgery. Personally I’m not sure I even like the trade. I doubt Torres is the missing piece or will propel them to postseason success the next two years (even more so with the Liam news), I might opt to keep Crochet. He might turn out to be worth more than Torres sooner than later.

Not that any of this matters at the moment, awful news about Liam. This team is just snake bit in so many ways. 34 years old, that’s just crazy. I hope we get some updates on how early they caught it and what the prognosis/treatment plan is.

Last edited 2 months ago by Augusto Barojas

Gleyber’s batted ball profile suggests he would hit 30+ HRs with half his games played at GRF. His all-fields power would be a huge addition to this lineup.

But I have no idea why the Yankees (the Yankees!) would move him for a reliever coming back from TJ.

Augusto Barojas

I think the news from last night means that the Sox can forget all about getting Torres. I doubt anything was in the works anyway, every Sox media person is a shill.

I wouldn’t want to see them lose Crochet for 2 years of Torres. I’m a believer in Crochet, and not of this team being anything special the next two seasons. Even more true today than yesterday.


Wow, Liam Hendriks announced he has cancer. Very sad. Prayers to him and his family!


horrible news about liam. wish him the best, and i’m now very glad they did not trade him.


I wish Liam well. I enjoy watching him.

You just can’t even make this stuff up. The White Sox best trade chip gets cancer.


This is the White Sox, they’ll keep him on the active roster and have him play RF.


I’d be happier with 12/13ths of my salary to trade my bad bosses.