Monday, December 29, 2008
Sources: Jones in Dodgers-Mets talks
By Buster Olney
ESPN The Magazine
Andruw Jones, coming off a disastrous first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been the subject of trade talks between L.A. and the New York Mets, according to sources.
Jones, who turns 32 next spring, hit .158 with 76 strikeouts in 209 at-bats for the Dodgers in 2008 -- just two years after he mashed 41 homers and drove in 129 runs for the Braves. There is a perception within the industry that Jones, who played the first 12 years of his career in Atlanta, was just never comfortable with the Dodgers.
As part of the two-year, $36.2 million deal with L.A. signed before the 2008 season, Jones was paid $9 million last season, and he is due to make $15 million in 2009. He also received a $12.2 million signing bonus, $2.1 million of which is due in 2009 and $5 million in 2010. But presumably, the Dodgers will be willing to eat a lot of what remains on the contract to facilitate a move out of L.A. for Jones, who has 371 career homers and five seasons of 100 or more RBIs.
The Mets' intention, if they were to conclude a deal for Jones, would be to play the 10-time Gold Glove center fielder in right field, flanking Carlos Beltran. Ryan Church played most of the season in right field for the Mets last season.
New York also has been trying to move a player who has fallen out of favor -- second baseman Luis Castillo, who is coming off a poor season and is owed $18 million over the next three seasons. But it's unlikely that the Dodgers would have interest in Castillo, because they have a young second baseman in Blake DeWitt, and Castillo does not play a lot of different positions. If the Mets were to move Castillo, they would be in a position to then pursue the top free-agent second baseman, Orlando Hudson.
Earlier on Monday, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported that the Dodgers had reached out to the representatives for Adam Dunn. If L.A. were to move Jones -- and the Dodgers are highly motivated to do so, according to sources -- then a spot would open in the outfield for Dunn, if the Dodgers did not bring back Manny Ramirez.