AJ Pollock declines option with White Sox

The veteran outfielder becomes a free agent.

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White Sox outfielder AJ Pollock will become a free agent.

White Sox outfielder AJ Pollock will become a free agent after declining his option.

David J. Phillip/AP

LAS VEGAS — AJ Pollock declined his $13 million player option to return to the White Sox in 2023, making the outfielder a free agent. He will receive a $5 million buyout.

The Sox acquired Pollock from the Dodgers at the end of spring training for reliever Craig Kimbrel. He batted .245/.292/.389 with 14 homers in 138 games while posting a .935 OPS against left-handers and was a 0.4 wins above replacement player, per Baseball Reference. Pollock, 35, who achieved his 10th year of service time, has earned $69.5 million during his career with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Sox.

Pollock was generally expected to exercise his option, but general manager Rick Hahn said he wasn’t surprised.

“Not shocking if you look at the free-agent market right now,” general manager Rick Hahn said at the general managers meetings Tuesday. “There’s not a ton of right-handed-hitting outfield bats [on the market], and it gives him the opportunity

to pick the ideal situation for him going into next season.”

Pollock was a “true pro” who “didn’t quite have the year any of us, himself included, envisioned, but his future remains bright.”

Pollock played three outfield positions and was one of the better fielders among a defensively weak outfield in 2022. Having Pollock’s salary off the books should create flexibility to address that need, if not others.

Who’s on second?

With Josh Harrison’s option not picked up, Hahn mentioned Romy Gonzalez, Leury Garcia, Danny Mendick and Lenyn Sosa as internal options but views them as best suited for utility roles.

“We moved on from Josh. We’ll spend some time this offseason if there is a way to get better,” Hahn said.

This and that

Hahn said the coaching-staff additions under new manager Pedro Grifol will likely be announced before Thanksgiving, and all at once. Only pitching coaches Ethan Katz and Curt Hasler are known to be back. Charlie Montoyo was already announced as the new bench coach.

Hahn said he expected the analytics department to play a greater role in on-field decisions by Grifol than Tony La Russa the last two seasons.

• Reynaldo Lopez and Jimmy Lambert will remain in the bullpen next season.

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