The Dodgers today released Andruw Jones, he of the .158 average and 10 Gold Gloves, leaving themselves on the hook for the remainder of his $22.1 million salary and his next employer free to sign Jones for league minimum.
Given the state of the Sox and the state of Jones, could we be looking at the Good Guys’ next addition? Let’s examine the evidence:
Jones is large and out of shape. History – extremely recent history at that – suggests this is not a problem. Bartolo Colon, Bobby Jenks, David Wells to name a few.
Jones is coming off possibly the worst season ever. Again, not a problem. Jim Thome played 59 games in 2005 before the Sox dealt Aaron Rowand and Gio Gonzalez to Philadelphia, and that worked out just fine.
Once a pillar of reliability, Jones has become a huge injury risk. Acquisitions the past few offseasons have included Orlando Hernandez, Darrin Erstad, Carlos Quentin, and the aforementioned Colon. Herm Schneider has also been known to work miracles.
A five-time All-Star, Jones’ next contract will pay as much as that of Jerry Owens. Self-explanatory.
He can play center field. Or at least, he could. Historically. And theoretically.
Jones’ stolen base numbers have tallied in the single digits every year since 2002. In 2008, Orlando Cabrera and Alexei Ramirez led the team in this category with 18 and 13, respectively. Since amassing all that speed and defense that one time, seven White Sox players have swiped 10 or more bases in a season. Jones’ sluggishness would appear to be right at home on the South Side.
To recap: a slow, overweight, inexpensive, injury-prone player past his prime? And, as an added bonus, one who also marginally solves part of one of the Sox’ problems at the expense of several others? Just start scripting the press release now:
“Andruw Jones is a ballplayer,” Williams said. “A grinder, a guy with heart who really knows how to play baseball, one who knows that the game is played to win the game. Grinder.”
“Grinder,” Williams added. “Baseball.”