Sep
13

The Andruw Jones Appreciation Thread

By

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

As the off-season wound down, the Yankees had only a few needs they could fill on the free agent market. The starting lineup was penciled in, the bullpen was full, and the starting pitching options were exhausted. All they needed to complete the 2011 roster was a reliable fourth outfielder, preferably one who could mash lefties. Throughout the off-season one name stood out as a reasonable option: Andruw Jones. And so in early February the Yankees landed their man on a reasonable one-year contract. That appeared to complete the Yankees’ off-season team building.

Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t get off on the best foot. While Jones homered in his first game as a Yankee, he generally hit poorly in the first half: .195/.278/.356 in 97 PA. Worse, he was taking starts away from Brett Gardner, who was putting together a quality first half (.265/.348/.394 at the break, and .317/.404/.463 in June). That left a sour taste in many Yankees’ fans mouths. What use was a fourth outfielder who 1) doesn’t play defense particularly well, 2) hasn’t hit better than a possible minor league replacement, and 3) is taking at-bats away from a more productive player on both sides of the ball?

At the break something changed. According to Jones, it was a call from his mom that got the wheels turning. It appeared to pay immediate dividends, as Jones hit two home runs in his first game of the second half. Since then he’s been to the plate 99 times and has hit .288/.424/.600. That includes 17 walks, which is only six fewer than Mark Teixeira in 147 fewer PA. He’s also belted seven homers, some of which were absolute monster shots (the one in Minnesota stands out in memory).

Jones got so hot after the break that he’s taken on more than a platoon role lately. With Gardner slumping and Swisher on the shelf, Jones has started eight of 11 games in September. While his production has waned a bit as a result, he’s still providing a level of value with his walks. They have allowed him to maintain a .344 OBP despite a .160 average this month. That’s not a skill that many fourth outfielders possess. He also hasn’t been a liability in the field. He might not be Gardner or even Swisher out there, but he’s not dragging down the team on defense.

And so we take this opportunity to appreciate the contributions Jones has made this season. He has torn through the second half and has been a big part of the reason why the Yankees are in a comfortable position right now. He might have been something of a liability in the first half, but he’s certainly repaid the Yankees lately.

Categories : Players

33 Comments»

  1. nedro says:

    3 cheers for Perma-Grin!

  2. CS Yankee says:

    Jonesey & Chavey have been great vet pickups.

    Seems to be chasing that falling-dirt slider less and have some extended at-bats lately. Clearly the 4th OF’er come postseason.

  3. jsbrendog says:

    i love fat andruw jones.

    i hate the idiot who all season was saying we should cut him cause he doesn’t care cause he smiles when he strikes out. people are unbelievable

  4. BigDavey88 says:

    Joe, do you think he comes back next season?

    • NJ_Andy says:

      I’m not Joe, but I’ll toss in my $.02 anyway.

      Highly doubtful. Bench players, who aren’t brought up in the system, don’t usually stick around for long on a team like the Yankees which can’t guarentee them a lot of playing time. It made sense for him this year, but maybe he’ll, like Thames, cash in on his success and get a job elsewhere.

  5. MattG says:

    Hurray for improving on the margins! Granderson is doing his best to obscure it, but the truth is the success of the 2011 Yankees has been attributed to depth and marginal improvements.

  6. Monteroisdinero says:

    Jones>>>>Thames

    Chavez>>>>Nick Johnson

    Can’t say if either will be back next year.

    Neither were as important as Freddy or Bartolo but both have been very good pickups.

  7. Dave B says:

    I agree with Jones/Chavez being clear upgrades over Thames/Johnson. Johnson’s health notwithstanding, Chavez’s defense is amazing at 3rd and compared to Thames, Jones is a gold glove candidate. I haven’t seen or believed a stat quantifying defensive capabilities, but my eyes have told me Jones’ gets to balls he should get to, doesn’t race in on balls over his head, and generally reminds me of Roy White in LF in Roy’s later years. Competent but not great or crappy in the field.

  8. Jorge says:

    Jones has definitely been a pleasant surprise. Would I bring him back next year? I think that, for the role the team wants him to play, you take a look at your available options before just bringing the same person back.

  9. Paul Proteus says:

    They should invite Jones back to keep the chemistry together. Remember when we ousted Matsui and Damon? Didn’t make it back to the WS. Back in the late 90s we had guys like Strawberry, Chili Davis, and Rubuen Sierra. Great ballplayers.

    • NJ_Andy says:

      You’re absolutely right. It was the loss of ‘Zilla and Damon that kept us out of the WS. Well argued point, I can’t believe nobody has thought of something so obvious! We needed their veteran presence, their hyper clutchity clutchness.

      • ADam says:

        Yea… agree 100% Nothing to do With AJ’s 5+ era, Hughes being overworked, or Cliff Lee pushing his agent to go to the Rangers over NY.

        We gave up on the season because we didn’t bring back two over the hill DH’s with there Clutchity Cluthcness…

      • jsbrendog says:

        #veteranpresents

    • MannyGeee says:

      you had me until ‘remember when’…. particularly when my recollection of ‘Damon and Matsui getting ousted’ is markedly different than your version of it.

      Matsui took a TON of cash (considering what his real value was, something like $8M??) to play in LA, and has not had a ‘Pinstripe worthy’ season since.

      Damon was an absolute Scott Boras lackey after the WS, and was looking for $14M per to stay in New York. If my math serves me correctly, I am not sure he’s made $14M SINCE leaving.

      • MannyGeee says:

        sorry, I lied.

        Matsui made $6M in LAA and $4.25 in Oakland.
        Damon made $8M in Detroit and $5.25 in TB.

      • CS Yankee says:

        Yeah, but to be fair he has lived his dream of playing in Detroit and to play at home in Tampa (which is not really his home).

        /borasnevercostshisplayersmoney’d

    • JohnC says:

      Still amazes me what a different attitude Sierra had when he came back here after being practically a Torre outcast the first time he was a Yankee. Him and Torre really bonded the 2nd time

    • Jesse says:

      How about the fact that their pitching wasn’t as good in the postseason in 2010 compared to 2009? But no, Matsui and Damon are the only reasons why they didn’t win the WS last year.

    • jsbrendog says:

      oaktag

    • Jorge says:

      If the Yanks lose this year, it’ll be because they didn’t bring back Marcus Thames early enough to preserve last year’s team chemistry.

  10. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    He might have been something of awas an absolute freakin’ liability in the first half, and may have even been dangerously close to being cut, but he’s certainly repaid the Yankees lately.

  11. Monteroisdinero says:

    Footrace: Andruw vs Jorge vs Swisher vs Montero?

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