Friday, March 20, 2009
Minor league stint probably best route for Jones
What's to become of Andruw Jones? As Richard Durrett notes, there doesn't seem to be room on the Rangers
I really thought before spring training started that Jones still had something and would prove it. But it appears he doesn't have enough. He shouldn't take away playing time from David Murphy, Marlon Byrd, Josh Hamilton or Nelson Cruz. But what if Catalanotto didn't cost $4 million this season and another $2 million to buy him out of his 2010 contract year? Would you keep Jones and see if he could do something and let Catalanotto go? If Jones did show something, he could become a nice piece to trade at the deadline depending on the club's situation.
The reality is Catalanotto costs $6 million to go away and Jones hasn't shown enough to make that investment worth it. And in fairness to Catalanotto, it's not like he doesn't serve a purpose. He does give this team a left-handed bat off the bench. And he's a good pinch hitter. He can play the corner outfield spots if he has to and can play first.
The math here has never made sense. There were always all those other guys, with Murphy, Hamilton, and Cruz all absolute locks for roster spots. I'm not a big Marlon Byrd fan, but the guy does have a .460 slugging percentage over the last two seasons, and one can't discount the possibility that he somehow learned to hit while in his early 30s. Catalanotto is, if nothing else, useful because he can do a few things.
What can Andruw Jones do? Just two years ago, he was one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. It's not clear that he still is. Three years ago, he hit 41 home runs. It's not clear that he would hit 21 today, even if given an everyday job. Jones has done all right this spring, but he's not been tearing things up, either. I believe he may yet have some good baseball left in him. But he's probably going to have to prove it in a minor league somewhere.