Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BD Hot Stove: A Jones For Andruw | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: A Jones For Andruw | Baseball Digest

Andruw Jones burst on to the scene for the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series, slugging a pair of home runs in game 1 against the Yankees. He was a mere 20 years old at the time. 15 years later, Jones is looking for a job, but is clearly not the player he once was.

Older, slower, out of a shape, and a bad back…they all contributed to a less than stellar handful of seasons (2008-2010) for the five time All-Star. Even in his last very productive season (2007), when he hit 26 home runs and drove in 94 runs, Jones hit just .222 and struck out 138 times. The drop off in offensive production was dramatic after averaging 46 home runs and 128 RBI the previous two seasons. Jones also won the last of his 10 Gold Gloves in 2007.

With the White Sox last season Jones did show some pop-19 home runs- and drove in 48 runs in 278 at-bats. Despite hitting just .230, he put up a .341 OPS due to 45 walks. The combination is what has some teams still showing interest in the native of Curacao. The Yankees, looking to fill the void left by Marcus Thames and Austin Kearns, are said to be the front-runner for Jones’ services and, in fact, some sources say a contract is imminent. The Yankees would give him outfield time as well as occassional DH duty when the regular DH Jorge Posada gets a day off.

Rumors, News, and Transactions

A once promising career has apparently come to a close. Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche has decided to retire due to lingering shoulder issues. The 32-yr old, who would have made $12M this season, said he would have to have another shoulder surgery to even think about being a starting pitcher again. The Royals released the following statement:

“After a lot of thinking and prioritizing of issues in my life I have decided to retire from baseball. As a competitor my entire life this is the hardest decision that I’ve ever faced, but it’s not fair to me, my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch anymore. I came into this game as a starting pitcher and unfortunately my health, more accurately, my shoulder, has deteriorated to the point where surgery would be the only option and at this stage of my life I would prefer to call it a career rather than to attempt to pitch in relief for the final year of my contract. I can’t thank the Kansas City Royals and their fans enough for my four seasons there and if I have any regret, it’s that we weren’t able to accomplish on the field what the goal was when I signed there.”

The Diamondbacks and shortstop Stephen Drew have agreed on a two year, $13.75M contract with a mutual option for 2013.

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are still looking at Freddy Garcia and Kevin Millwood for the number five spot in the rotation and a veteran presence in place of Andy Pettitte.

The Mets are reportedly close to a minor league deal with Scott Hairston.

Newly acquired Rajai Davis has agreed to a two year, $5.25M deal with the Blue Jays. Toronto has added a club option for 2013.

The Dodgers reached an agreement with Marcus Thames on a one year deal. LA is also close to signing Gabe Kapler to a minor league deal.

Several players have avoided arbitration with new contracts (all are for one year): Prince Fielder (MIL, $15.5M), Shin-Soo Choo (CLE, $3.975M), Ryan Ludwick (SD, $6.775M), Heath Bell (SD, $7.5M), Dallas Braden (OAK, $3.35M), Conor Jackson (OAK, $3.32M), Brandon Morrow (TOR, $2.3M), Shawn Camp (TOR, $2.25M), Yunel Escobar (TOR, $2.9M), Manny Parra (MIL, und.), Mike Pelfrey (NYM, $3.925M), Rafael Perez (CLE, $1.33M), Chris Perez (CLE, $2.25M), Felix Pie (BAL, $985K), Armando Galarraga (DET, $2.3M), Anibal Sanchez (FLA, $3.7M), Clay Hensley (FLA, $1.4M), Mike Morse (WAS, und.), Jeff Keppinger (HOU, $2.3M), Clint Barmes (HOU, $3.925M), Tony Pena (CHW, $1.6M), Felipe Paulino (COL, $79OK), Kyle Davies (KC, $3.2M)

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