Jones reworks deal, still not the solution in center

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Since center field is currently the Yankees’ weakest position, we might as well take a look at news involving a soon-to-be-traded center fielder — even though few if any of us would touch him with a 50-foot pole. Via Jon Heyman, we learn that the Dodgers have re-worked their contract with Andruw Jones. The deal will reportedly save them $12 million from their 2009 payroll. More importantly, it will make Jones easier to trade.

According to Cot’s, Jones is scheduled to earn $15 million in salary in 2009. However, the signing bonus from his two-year, $36.2 million deal complicates things a bit. He made $9 million last year plus a $5.1 million signing bonus. That means that despite his $15 million salary, Jones is slated to make $22.1 million for the rest of his contract. He is due a $5 million payment as part of his signing bonus in 2010, even though he won’t be under contract, so that, I guess, won’t count against the Dodgers’ 2009 payroll. That leaves $17.1 million. If the Dodgers did in fact defer $12 million of that, an acquiring team would only be liable for $5.1 million in salary.

Clearly, that’s not the final word on the matter. This is just my elementary understanding, using what I know about salaries and bonuses, how they count against the cap, and parsing the words of Heyman. His “official” salary number for 2009 could be $5.1 million; it could be $10 million. What matters to an acquiring team, though, is that they will not be on the hook for that $22.1 million they otherwise would have been. That makes Jones attractive.

While the Yankees have a need in center, I can’t see them going after Jones. There’s some upside here; Jones was, after all, one of if not the premier center fielder in baseball earlier this decade. He’s a few years removed from that status, though, and he’s done little to show he can regain that form. Among the many criticism of Jones over the past two years has been his lack of a work ethic, leaving him out of shape and an injury risk. While he had remained healthy through most of his career, he spent the bulk of 2008 either on the DL or on the bench.

Reduced salary or not, any team trading for Jones is taking a weighty gamble. The deflated salary number clearly makes this a better risk, but it does nothing to the reward aspect of the deal. Jones is still coming off two abhorrent years, the latter of which placed him among the worst players in the league. The guy who managed to hit a home run every 13.2 plate appearances in 2005 hit one every 79 PAs in 2008. You can’t even play the “contract year” card with Jones, as he hit .222/.311/.413 in his last contract year.

A healthy, in-shape, and motivated Jones could prove an astronomical boost to any team acquiring him, no doubt. However, we’ve seen little to indicate this will be the case. The Dodgers mitigated the risk for an acquiring team by reducing his salary, but that provides no guarantees (obviously, hence the risk involved). The Yankees and their fans might ponder this for a moment or two, but in the end I’m guessing the risk would outweigh the reward.

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Open Thread: Ranking the remaining free agents
  • Mike Pop

    Good post.. Id take him if we shipped off Matsui.

    One year 5 million !

    • A.D.

      While Matsui can’t really play the field, which Jones can, my guess is Matsui will be a more productive hitter this year

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      You got to be kidding me Mr. Pop.

      Jones has been a joke for some time now. I recall everybody in baseball saying that LA had the deal of last off season. They should have said worst deal ever in an offseason.

      From the original post:

      “What matters to an acquiring team, though, is that they will not be on the hook for that $22.1 million they otherwise would have been.”

      What GM would really take this guy on at any salary more than league minimum? Nobody that should have a job.

      “That makes Jones attractive.”

      So him making millions of dollars yet being done playing baseball for at least the last 2 year is attractive? I got a better idea give me the money, I can play better than this guy can now. This is not A. Jones of 96, this is a fat bloated, stick a fork in him A. Jones.

  • A.D.

    Is there any reason to believed that he is going to be in shape this year

    • Reggie C.

      sheer pride?

      • A.D.

        I meant that there were some quotes and reports on Miguel Cabrera last year that he was getting into shape, going to show everyone, etc.

        At least something along those lines

        • Mike Pop

          Dude mashed like crazy though.

          • A.D.

            Yeah Cabrera was going to mash either way, Andruw not so much

            • Mike Pop


    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      He will be in the shape of a Pear.

      Even if he loses the weight he is DONE. It is over. No comeback happening here.

  • Mike Pop

    Is he finished ?

    • Jay CT

      I think so. I believe last year was one of the worst hitting seasons for a player of all time, according to Jayson Stark. At 5 million bucks though, and a 1 year deal, it seems a pretty low risk. If he could be had for like Melky Cabrera, I would take a shot I think.

      • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

        The reason his season was so bad is that nobody making that much money EVER was that bad, if anybody else played that bad they would have but sent packing.

        MLB teams hate to cut a guy making tons of money as if that means they will save some of it by clogging up their roster with a useless player.

  • Ryan S.

    Dear god no. Can’t we just make Melky Cabrera eat nothing but nachos and cookie dough from here until ST? You’d get the same exact player at around 10% of the price.

    If we can’t sign Andruw Jones to a minor league contract (which we obviously cannot do right now), he is absolutely not even worth considering.

  • A.D.

    Jones is an enigma, doing his worst in his age 30 & 31 season. His UZR suggests he can still play the field, even though some say he has digressed defensively.

    But otherwise Jones is a guy who doesn’t hit for avg, doesn’t have a great OBP, so he production really comes down to the power & defense.

    • Ed

      Didn’t he miss a ton of time last season because of knee operations? I wouldn’t bet on his fielding ability being what it used to be.

      • Mike Pop

        Ya lol..He played 75 games and had 33 hits with a monstrous .158, 3 hrs and 14 rbis..

        • Jay CT

          Lol, wow. That really is just a HORRIBLE line

  • Ed

    This is entirely about giving the Dodgers more money to play with in 2009. It’s most likely giving the Dodgers payroll room to sign Manny, which in turn would lead to Jones being traded to reduce the outfield clutter.

    Deferring salary doesn’t change obligations in the event of a trade – it still counts as salary earned in 2009, and would be the responsibility of whoever takes on his 2009 salary. The Dodgers may be hoping to trade him with the intention of paying the deferred money, but that’s not automatic.

    As for implications on luxury tax – luxury tax calculations subtract money paid by other teams from your payroll, so if the Dodgers are part of the contract, their trade partner wouldn’t care what the Dodgers payment schedule is.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      “This is entirely about giving the Dodgers more money to play with in 2009”

      Agreed. I think the notion of GM’s wanting this guy at a reduced rate is laughable.

  • Mike Pop

    Was only a couple years ago he hit 51… but seems like a really long time ago lol

  • Frank

    I’d rather have Bernie play CF.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    The Yankees and their fans might ponder this for a moment or two,

    Not even for a nanosecond. This was the type of move George would have made in the ’80s. Thank God we’ve moved beyond such nonsense.

  • LC

    I think we’ve got to keep the younger guys and not make any trade for CF.

    Then they should sign Pettitte or Randy Wolf for 4th or 5th starter and call it an offseason.

  • RichYF

    Wow, he’s only 31 (well 32 next year)?

    It’s remarkable how far he’s fallen. Still, at his age, and at that salary (presumably), someone might get the steal off the off-season for peanuts.

  • E-ROC

    I’d rather the Yanks take on Kosuke Fukudome’s entire contract than to trade for Andruw Jones.

    • Mike Pop

      Thats just stupid.

      • E-ROC

        I should’ve put some sarcasm in there somewhere. ‘Ol well.

        • Mike Pop

          Well, do I feel like a Horse’s patoot right about now.

          • E-ROC

            It’s cool.

            Marion Barber or Tashard Choice? Who would u pick?

            • Mike Pop


  • Al

    May be Andy Pettitte can give him some ROIDS…and both can blame Andy’s DAD.

    • Mike Pop


    • VO

      yea seriously man, whats up? not to mention choosing the rong guy to pick on for steroids, trying to be original or something?

      • Jay CT

        Yeah Al. The dude didn’t even use steroids. HGH is used for healing and shows no signs of muscle stregthening. The only reason it is not allowed is because they cannot prove what long term damage there is from it. Far different from “ROIDS”

        • Ed

          The reason HGH isn’t allowed is because it’s a prescription drug with very, very limited legally permitted uses. The limited research done on it so far shows that it does nothing for you unless your body is abnormally low on HGH production. If you meet the FDA requirements to be prescribed it, your body isn’t going to be strong enough to hold up in the majors.

  • A.D.

    Andruw Jones might be a bounce back candidate…just not for us, there will be plenty of other teams more desperate.

  • VO

    i dont seriously understand why he would agree to a salary cut, also couldnt they have non-tendered? how does that work anyway im a little confused

    • A.D.

      The money must be getting deferred somehow, he’ll still get paid, Andruw would never give up guaranteed money, nor would the union ever allow him to do that.

      My only guess is that if he doesn’t agree to move money he stays a Dodger & doesn’t play this year, thus doing essentially nothing, and having to sign a complete shit contract next year. He moves money, he can get traded, and be a starter, try and have a bounce back year, show some people he can play, and get a multi year deal.

      • Jay CT

        Well I would think they would give a strong interest rate on the defered money, thus giving him probably a few million dollars more. I would think when you have that much money, you can afford to push some of it off in order to gain a substantial amount more.

    • whozat

      “i dont seriously understand why he would agree to a salary cut,”

      He didn’t. He agreed to the structure of his deal (how much is paid to him when) being re-worked. The Dodgers will still be paying him long after this contract is up, but they won’t have to pay him as much right now as they would have otherwise.

      What does he get out of it? Perhaps a bit more money. More importantly, he’s wanted out of LA since late last season, and this makes him easier to trade.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      also couldnt they have non-tendered?

      Although I guess that might be an option, I’m pretty sure they (the Dodgers) would still be on the hook for his entire contract, so I’m not sure what that might accomplish.

      My understanding is that all baseball contracts are guaranteed, so teams are free to cut players, but they are still responsible for the contract.

      • whozat

        That is true, pretty much. If you can show that, for some reason, he is incapable of fulfilling his contract, a player can be cut. But that’s REALLY hard to show. If, like…Jones became morbidly obese because he ate nothing but cheesy bacon logs all offseason, and then refused to even stand in the field wearing a glove…then you could maybe avoid paying him.

      • VO

        thanks i didnt understand the non-tendered process

  • Mike A.

    The funny thing is that if the Sawx get him, Peter Gammons & ESPN will praise the move and there will be countless comments on this site about how the Yanks should have taken a flier on him.

    • Steve H

      Before the Sox get him I’ll say I’d consider taking a flyer on him for 1 year and $5 mil. There’s just about no risk, if he sucks, you unfortunately eat $5 mil. If he doesn’t suck, then he might be worth way more than $5 mil. Like the Sexson pickup last year, which didn’t work out, it was still worth it. The problem with Sexson is they didn’t cut ties soon enough, but in the end, while the pickup didn’t work out, it also didn’t cripple the team.

      • whozat

        There is definitely risk. You need a spot on the 40-man roster, for one. Second…he didn’t even hit as well as Brett Gardner OR Melky. There’s also no reason to think he’s a solid bounce-back candidate. He’s also not as good on defense as either one of those guys. So…you’re weakening every aspect of the team, risking the loss of a potentially interesting pitcher (Garcia? De La Rosa? Kontos?), AND preventing the organization from seeing what it has in Gardner. Which might be nothing. But, honestly…if you’re going to throw away ABs, I’d rather do it with a guy who’s a defensive plus and might be league average and cheap.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Like the Sexson pickup last year,

        The difference being, Seattle had cut Sexson, so I believe all the Yankees were responsible for was the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.

        Someone please correct me if that wasn’t the case.

        • VO

          ill corect you but tht was the case, then we cut him….damn tht must suck getting cut by 2 teams in the matter of a month

    • A.D.

      Lugo for Jones

      ZOMG Theo is a god!!1!

  • Dirt

    Random side note:

    That announcer for the MLB Network show that was just on about classic Series moments was such a cheeseball I wanted to puke. But games 4 and 5 of the ’01 series gave me goosebumps, I was at game 4, and it was unbelievable.

  • iYankees

    Eh. I think, before you pick up Jones, you let Damon play CF with Swisher and Nady at the corners. You’ll get better production that way and with Andruw’s knee problems and conditioning issues, I wouldn’t throw $5 mill at him. His saving grace is his defense and the two aforementioned factors nullify that aspect of his game.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      Totally on point iYankees.
      I would rather resign Graham Lloyd and get him an outfilders glove, than get A. Jones for 5 million.

  • Mike NYY

    I actually like this idea a lot. He still fields very well and if he can just get back to his 2007 offensive levels (which both Bill James and Marcel project to happen) he`d be a steal for 5 million.

    Fangraphs has him worth about 20 million in 2006 and about 15 million in 2007. Boras will have him motivated going into a contract year. He had the potential to be a steal.

    • leo

      How would .220/.311/.413 be a steal for 5 million? That’s below replacement level.

      • Mike NYY

        He still has a good glove when in shape and motivated which is an undervalued skill. That’s not below replacement level either for a centerfielder.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      “Boras will have him motivated going into a contract year. ”

      You mean how he was all motivated last year when he was up for a contract and showed up looking like Shamu?

  • http://yahoo jad

    I am intrigued by this guy. He was the best defensive Cf in baseball three years ago. Unless he is still reallly fat and physically shot legwise, I would take a shot at him for 5 million. It is what we saved by signing Pettitte for 10 mil so you could look at it that way. I haven’t seen him much in the last few years except striking out on highlights, but still, this guy was a helluva player—-no explanation for what has happened to him. How about Kemp and Jones for Cano and a few minor leaguers and sign Hudson for 2b?

  • Alex

    Who would have thought that the 18 year old kid that hit two HR in his first game at Yankee Stadium during the 1996 World Series would be reduced to this chubby piece of garbage that he is now.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      The guy selling him the Churros thought it.

  • cj

    After the dodgers have no success trying to trade him and cut him, I wouldn’t be against giving him an ST invite.

  • cj

    I’d be happy with a Jones for Igawa swap

  • Chuck

    How about this; the Giants are “talking” about Manny but need to dump salary which means the Aaron Rowand might be available. I’d take him over any other center fielder out there.

  • GG

    but why pay five mill? they are going to release him, it was part of the deal, than if we want we can get him, IF we want

  • Shamus

    Andruw Jones?!?!?!

    I’d rather have Chipper Jones in CF than Andruw!

    BTW, you guys rocked the Pinch Hitter series so far at Lohud. Anyone see that no talent ass clown Sam I Am ? What a horrible, horrible piece of ….

    I can’t even call it writing. How about a horrible piece of shit.

    Needless to say, we at It Is High have already mocked him.

    The tee-shirts will be ready by ST!

  • anthony

    Too much into this article. I really think a lot of people get down on Brett Gardner. Gardner is gonna be a nice fit in centerfield. He does not have to hit the 20-40 home runs. He will eventually get a upper cut in his swing and hit 15. So whats so bad with the lineup we have for a guy to hit 280 because he will eventually develop to a good hitter where he just needs to play everyday and know how to choose his pitches and what to lay off. He will be our centerfielder of the future. Just give him a chance. Remember, Bernie Williams did not come out of the gates swinging. It took him 5 yrs to be the player he was and with David Dejesus yea hes a nice fit in centerfield but I think in 2-3 yrs Brett will be better then him with more stolen bases. Then you have the youngster in the minors Austin Jackson even though the idea of him coming up now is great he is a fallback option just in case Brett cant hack it on the big stage. As for Andruw, he might or might not rebound. Is he worth the risk? Yes, for a team that desperately needs him. But he is not Yankee material. Yankees are done with their big and loose pocket spending this offseason. If anything, they will get another decent starter,Petitte,or go with young pitching such as Phil Hughes.

  • goblue

    Has anyone here seen the MONSTER numbers he’s putting up in the Dominican League? Last I checked he was batting .090. Anyone here still want to talk comeback with this guy? I quote Reservoir Dogs, “Piss on this fucking turd.”

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