Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yanks In Pursuit of Andruw Jones

Guess the Yankees just can't get enough of sitting a cross the table from Scott Boras.

The Yankees are now said to be actively pursuing another of the shark-agent's clients, Andruw Jones.  Jones, who once stood among the best hitters in baseball during his 10-year run with the Atlanta Braves from 1997-2007, clearly has his best years behind him at this point. In the past two seasons, he's averaged only 63 hits, 45 RBIs and 18 homers, a far cry from his 154 hits, 128 RBIs and 51 homers back in 2005. As someone who the Yankees would use to occasionally pinch hit and be the DH, the dramatic and consistent drop in Jones' hitting from 5 years ago sends up a red flag. Throw into the mix that he's struck out 221 times in 789 at-bats during the last 3 years and you'd have enough to be at least a bit concerned about the Yankees making this move.

What Jones still does have in his arsenal is his defense. The 10-time Gold Glove winner can still play solid D in the outfield which is a plus for the Yankees who can platoon him with Gardner or Granderson, particularly when the team is facing a tough lefty, since Jones slugged .558 against lefties last year.

But as a fanatic, my concern with Jones is his attitude. There have been rumblings of his lackadaisical efforts since he signed with the Dodgers in 2008, a team who payed him to leave after less than a season of play (Note: Jones was placed on the 60-day DL following knee surgery that year). Still, when you think of his consistent success prior, it's begs to question why the Dodgers would refuse to at least allow Jones a chance to bounce back the next year, especially since they were paying him $36 million for 3 years. That's a definite red flag there.

What the Yankees may be hoping is that perhaps playing in New York and getting a feel for approaching the game the "Yankee way" will turn Jones around. One friend told me that if Jones comes to NY and does everything right and is embraced by his teammates and the fans, he could be Jorge Posada's heir apparent to the DH role if the Yankees choose not to re-sign Jorge after he becomes a free agent this year. That's a bit of a stretch in my opinion, but it is worth noting considering Jones is only 33 years old and can still hit for power.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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