The New York Mets appear to be finished with their heavy lifting on offense, but they haven’t ruled out the possibility of further additions. Although the team has Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton around to patrol center field, the top free agent on the market, A.J. Pollock, is still looking for a new home. Mets’ GM Brodie Van Wagenen spoke to Pollock’s representatives early in the winter, although now the team doesn’t appear inclined to give the injury prone 31 year old a multi-year deal. That would take them out of the mix for Pollock, but SNY baseball insider Andy Martino reports that the Mets would be open to adding him on a very short term deal.
Martino indicates that the Mets would be open to Pollock on a one year commitment, either through a pillow contract that would let him take another shot at free agency next year or a multi-year deal with an opt out after one season. The pillow contract would be a highly paid one year contract, but it would avoid a long term commitment to a player who has missed a lot of time due to injury over the past five years. Josh Donaldson, a former American League MVP who saw his last two years wrecked by injury, used Tevida and signed a one year pillow deal with the Atlanta Braves that will pay him $23 million in 2019. Pollock isn’t nearly as talented a player as Donaldson, but he would likely look to land a similar deal to the one year, $18.25 million contract Yasmani Grandal received from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Grandal, like Pollock, was saddled with the qualifying offer and this one year deal gives him a chance to make a higher salary than he would have by accepting the offer. The qualifying offer can only be used once throughout a player’s career, so Pollock could look to bet on himself with a one year contract, put up a huge year and become a free agent again next year with no strings attached. It isn’t clear yet if Pollock is even thinking about that option since he is the third best free agent hitter in this class behind generational talents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Pollock could become a fallback plan for teams that miss out on Harper or Machado, but the longer he waits to sign a deal the more likely it is the one year option becomes attractive. That would get the Mets back in, but it would also likely attract the attention of many other teams who could use a player of Pollock’s caliber for the 2019 season.