Andruw Jones has been released by the Dodgers. That ill-fated project has ended and Los Angeles is lighter in the pocket for their troubles.
What is Jones worth now? A multi year pact? Hardly. A single year contract in the neighborhood of 10 million? Let’s hope not.
He’s worth exactly two things; a one year contract and an attitude adjustment. From 1997 through 2006 Andruw Jones put up exceptional numbers and compiled nine gold gloves. He stayed away from the DL, stole a number of bases and led the league in homeruns and rbis once. More or less he enjoyed a decade of dominance in line with some of baseball’s greats.
In 2008 Andruw showed up to Spring Training with lingering injuries, overweight and without the zeal that allows a player to hit, hit for power, run, field, throw and steal bases at record paces that had characterized his early career. What happened?
Let’s take a look at another wonderful career that fizzled out a little too early. From 1989 to 2001 Roberto Alomar was the overall best offensive and defensive second basemen in baseball. He did everything you need to do to be great and because of his great run will be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible next year. Aside from a little incident with an umpire Alomar was often noted for his love for the game and boundless enthusiasm. Yet like Jones, who has shown decline at the youthful age of 31, Alomar was virtually finished at 33. How do these stars go south so quickly and at such a young age?
For Jones a big part of it has been his physical conditioning. He needs to stay on top of that if he is to remain in professional baseball. Alomar, however, was always in respectable shape. But what seems common amongst the two is that they lost the love for baseball in their early thirties. Alomar, the jovial young second basemen, became cranky in his early thirties. Andruw Jones lacks effort and drive.
Jones, however, will be given the chance to turn it around. Teams such as the Braves, the Giants or even the Yankees should think about giving Andruw a chance. Comeback player of the year? Let’s hope so.
If sources are correct the Yankees have come to terms with yet another big Winter free agent. Mark Teixeira, it is said, has signed with the Yankees for eight years and 170 million dollars. For what he’s worth statistically Tex is being grossly overpaid but he entered the market young and at the right time not to mention his merits as a switch hitter.
What’s difficult for me here at BnR is dealing with what this means for the American League East. Its not to say that we’re not used to being wildly outclassed but the Blue Jays are going to have to play the Sox, Rays and Yankees numerous times in the coming season – its not what has happened that is most worrisome but what may happen next that will make it difficult to compete.
With the Rays in possession of an already stellar lineup they should be able to add another bat to compliment the lineup at an affordable cost considering the bevy of outfielders available. The Red Sox, having missed on the Teixeira sweeptakes, will need to add some sort of a bat and perhaps another bullpen in the arm to stay in contention. The Yankees, however, will likely continue to make splashes towards constructing a new juggernaut.
Tex doesn’t actually improve the team that much over last year’s squad considering Giambi has departed. Burnett, a villain to me, may not stay healthy enough to make an impact. That makes CC Sabathia the best addition and that’s only if the Yankees are able to add Pettite or another free agent pitcher to round out the rotation at Sabbathia, Burnett, Wang __________ and Chamberlain. What does that mean? Expect another outfielder to compliment the loss of Abreu and the aging of Matsui.
Enter Manny. Yes, I’ve said it. Manny Ramirez makes the most sense. Toss another 20-25 million dollars down the pike and round out the squad. Watch A Rod, Manny and Tex bat together. Even if they’re not as good as people believe, the sheer task of pitching against these three batsmen in consecutive order will destroy the psyche of lesser pitchers.
Enjoy the Christmas season in New York. Its getting colder here in Toronto.
No matter how good I feel I got to take that extra day. It’s been mentioned to me and I know for a fact that I’m needed down the road as opposed to now so however long it takes.
With little else to entertain topically on the Toronto front when baseball is considered here is another post that deals primarily with notoriously fragile Mr. Burnett. The Hot Stove on Toronto’s beleaguered pitcher could not be brighter with at least four teams (New York, Boston, Baltimore and Toronto) showing significant interest and some others (Atlanta, for instance) claiming that they have at least some vested interest in AJ. Ken Rosenthal recently broke down the financial aspects of the potential deal. I am going to look at what team, from a mostly intangible prospective, would be the best fit for AJ.
AJ should avoid the Bronx Bombers at all cost. Burnett, once comfortable, may fall victim to his usual tendencies to take vacations on the DL and to sit out games for menial aches and pains. You think Pavano had it bad? At least he didn’t play long enough to feel the wrath of Yankees’ faithful. With Steinbrenner and fellow players breathing down your neck to do your share and the media in New York eating you up, enjoy the fan reaction when you return from a stint on the DL for a fingernail issue. Don’t get me wrong. I was in New York for the first time in my life this past May. I was instantly sold on why it is considered one of the world’s great cities. The fusion of culture, art, sports and some of the most diverse and wonderful people I’ve ever encountered was intoxicating. Just don’t go there if you’re a high paid player with injury issues. The endless coverage by the YES Network, the invasive prodding by the newpapers and the stress of performing on baseball’s biggest stage in a new ballpark no less will be too much for Burnett, a player who is not known for stepping up to the challenge when he is pressed to do so.
Not as bad as New York, Boston ranks very highly amongst American cities where media coverage and baseball is concerned. Boston may be able to secure Burnett by offering him an extra year on his contract, argues Rosenthal. On the other hand can Burnett secure himself a spot amongst the Red Sox great? Doubtful. Boston loves their team more than it loves their players, just ask Ted Williams. Some players, Varitek and Ortiz come to mind, are much celebrated in Beantown. How’d they get there? Through dedication and the ability to grind through injuries. Forget it Burnett, your psyche can’t handle Boston either.
For what? Burnett would gain nothing by playing for this sagging American League East team outside of a lucrative contract and poor run support. A mixture of Angelos and Burnett seems volitaile.
Here we go, another ‘anybody but Burnett rant’. Not so, true believers. Despite the fact that I think Burnett is overvalued, the best decision for AJ’s camp is to return to Toronto. After testing free agency Burnett should realize, like Ryan Dempster recently did, that there is no place quite like home. Burnett has good relationships with players, coaches and strangely the fans in Toronto who inexplicably want to see Mr. Consistency return. Rosenthal commented that both sides have denied rumours of a 4 year/54 million dollar contract. Could that mean more money? An extra year? An annoying club option such as existed in his previous contract? Who knows! Burnett, you’ve already scratched out your niche with the forgiving Toronto community. Return, brother, and reclaim your seat as the beloved antihero in the world’s most multicultural city. (This is a saying I’ve heard, but not one that I have statistics to support, so please don’t email me arguing the line).