The Braves would love to sign outfielder A.J. Pollock.
Pollock, 31, is a free agent this offseason, and the Braves have an opening in right field as they haven’t re-signed All-Star Nick Markakis to a new contract.
According to The Athletic, though, Atlanta may not want to sign Pollock for fear of having to surrender its third pick of the MLB Draft in June. The Diamondbacks gave Pollock a qualifying offer which requires the team that signs him in free agency to surrender a draft pick as compensation.
“Outfielder A.J. Pollock, in particular, is of interest to the Braves, and the team likely would jump on him at a dollar figure it deemed acceptable,” the report, which cites unidentified MLB sources, said. “But the pick — which for the Braves would be their third overall choice, likely in the mid-60s — would be part of the acquisition cost. And the Braves, because of all the young players the penalties cost them and all those they will lose in the future, value the selection more than most clubs, even though they have two first rounders this year.”
The Braves have two first-round picks in 2019 thanks to the team’s failure to sign pitcher Carter Stewart with the No. 8 pick in 2018, but the team has lost international slot money thanks to being penalized for signing violations. The team also has more penalties coming in the domestic draft in the future due to their infractions.
If the Braves were to sign Pollock, they likely would have to surrender a pick in the 60s, which would mean Atlanta would pick 21st and not again until its third-round pick, which will fall around No. 98.
Pollock, an All-Star in 2015, is looking for a payday in the $80 million range over five years, according to USA Today.
The Dodgers also could reportedly go after Pollock as the team’s lineup is very left-hander heavy.