Should Braves consider bringing back Andruw Jones?

Andruw Jones hit 19 home runs last season with the White Sox.

Andruw Jones hit 19 home runs last season with the White Sox.

Hey look: Andruw Jones is still available and the Braves could use a right-handed bat and an extra outfielder.

OK, all together now: Schultz, you’re an idiot.

Truth is, I’m not pushing for the Braves to sign Jones.  But I’m not completely dismissing the idea, either.

Have to admit, I’m only bringing this up because I’ve received a few emails in the last couple of days from readers asking me about Jones, and our resident baseball man David O’Brien tells me he also has been fielding questions from fans.

First, let’s address the negative: Jones will be 34 in April, obviously isn’t the Gold Glove center fielder he used to be with the Braves and often stirs up gale force winds when he’s at the plate.

Now here’s the positive: Playing for the Chicago White Sox last season, his third team in three years, Jones hit 19 home runs in 328 plate appearances. That roughly translates to a 40-home run season as a regular (which he’s not). Jones even walked 45 times, which gave him an on-base percentage of .341 (his best since 2006) and hit .230 (still anemic but better than the previous three years: .222, .158, .214)

The Braves could use a right-handed bat off the bench. For that matter, their outfield still makes me nervous. Martin  Prado will be the everyday left fielder, unless Chipper Jones has a setback and can’t start at third. Jason Heyward is in right. Then there’s the great black hole in center: Nate McLouth. Jordan Schafer also will be camp in spring training, hoping to belatedly jump start his career. Eric Hinske and Joe Mather can fill in.

Is that good enough?

There are reports the New York Yankees are interested in Jones. The major league minimum salary is $414,000 next season, though Jones presumably would sign for something in the $750,000 to $1 million range.

There’s nothing to indicate the Braves are interested. The question is whether it’s risky to bring back a player who once was a star in that city and now is in his final days. But if Jones is desperate enough to accept a reduced role, I don’t see that as an issue. It’s something to think about, anyway.

By Jeff Schultz

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272 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly Deluxe

January 12th, 2011
12:28 pm

Should Braves consider bringing back Andruw Jones?

No.

Reid Adair

January 12th, 2011
12:31 pm

You’re exactly right about the “black hole” in center field and major questions in left. Andruw Jones would definitely not be an everyday player, but he might be a good bat off the bench. What are the other realistic options, especially considering Frank Wren is making the decisions?

Last

January 12th, 2011
12:31 pm

Sure, he’d be an upgrade. Why not?

Jordan

January 12th, 2011
12:35 pm

If Bobby were still here, Andruw would probably more inclined to accept an offer, were an offer extended. I’m not sure he plays this year for less than $2-3 million, and I don’t believe the Braves have that kind of flexibility. With that being said, I’d welcome him back.

PMC

January 12th, 2011
12:36 pm

It would be a nice story. For him it would be great to end his career here.

O'Brien

January 12th, 2011
12:37 pm

Jeff,

Also, if Chipper is not ready, then Prado plays 3B. If that happens, we might have two black holes in the outfield (CF and LF). I think he is a low risk, high reward signing.

Do you think Andruw might help attendance as well?

Dr. Phil

January 12th, 2011
12:37 pm

Not one of my favorites, but I would take him over McOut right now.

Bob Didier Slept Here

January 12th, 2011
12:38 pm

Shultzie, I definitely agree that this is something to be considered. However, would he be willing to accept a role as a bench player? Also, what would he bring to the locker room in leadership qualities. That is a big question right there. Something tells me that the Bravos will not bring him back.

Jeff Schultz

January 12th, 2011
12:39 pm

Wow. Early returns and I’m not getting booed out of the building. OK, maybe this wasn’t such a crazy idea.

O’Brien (not that one) — I’m not sure how many people will buy a ticket thinking, “I want to watch Andruw play.” But I suppose there could be a few.

MWC

January 12th, 2011
12:40 pm

It also depends on what kind of shape he’s in.
Remember the times he reported to camp looking like @#$% ?

Khao$

January 12th, 2011
12:41 pm

at a reasonable price, what’s the downside? It’s not like the Braves are going to break the bank for a big bat for the outfield. If you took on projects such as Bobby Bonilla, Ken Caminiti, Raul Mondesi, and Troy Glaus, why not try out Andruw? At the very least, he can play some outfield and can occasionally give you lighting in a bottle. Plus, he was never a locker room cancer. If the Braves don’t plan on bringing up Shaffer or some other flashy rookie, yeah bring him back

TommyJack

January 12th, 2011
12:42 pm

Depends on the price, Schultzie.

Everybody

January 12th, 2011
12:43 pm

Skeezix

January 12th, 2011
12:44 pm

At that amount I say why not give him a shot. At times last year his bat seemed to be coming around and he still plays CF very well. Braves should make it conditional on him showing up in shape and making the team based on his performance in Spring training.

D-Man

January 12th, 2011
12:44 pm

Absolutely! In a backup role.

skip

January 12th, 2011
12:48 pm

Jones was once a star here. I can’t see him accepting a part-time role with the Braves. Maybe somewhere else, but not in Atlanta. Too much pride.

Kudzu

January 12th, 2011
12:50 pm

Yeah, and bring back the the Crime Dog, and Mad-Dog…do it!

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Big B CH 99

January 12th, 2011
12:53 pm

It actually isn’t a bad idea, because unless Schafer beats McOut to be the everyday CF, I think he should go to Gwinnett instead of being the 4th OF in Atl. Shchafer is still a young guy that needs AB’s more than anything else, and you only get those playing every day. What I’m saying is that unless he’s gonna be playing every day in Atl, Schafer should be playing everyday in Gwinnett instead of riding the bench in Atl. Andruw could provide a backup CF so that we could keep Schafer in Gwinnett instead of having him ride the bench in Atl.

ByteMe

January 12th, 2011
1:00 pm

I’d gamble a minor league contract with incentives on him.

White and Gold

January 12th, 2011
1:00 pm

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus cut Chipper!

The Living Legend

January 12th, 2011
1:02 pm

Would be good insurance. Chipper will play 125-130 games if we are lucky, that leaves Prado playing at least 40 games at 3B, Andruw can handle about 100 games a year. He can play all three outfield positions, and could play when “Mcsloth” continues to struggle. Offer him 750K and add some incentives. Does he still have a home in Atlanta? Anyone know?

C'mon Man

January 12th, 2011
1:05 pm

Yes, He still has a home in Atlanta. I think its an excellent move, but better jump on him before the Yankees get him.

Joshua

January 12th, 2011
1:05 pm

If you can sign him in that price range, I can’t see any downside to it really. But we have to understand that his value would be in adding depth and power off the bench. If the situation arises where Jones had to start regularly we would need to address the roster at that time.

Ted M

January 12th, 2011
1:07 pm

Yes!

Offer Andruw a minor league contract and tell him to report to spring training no heavier then 210lbs and compete for a spot on the roster.

If he makes it, give him a low salary & high incentives.

DAN

January 12th, 2011
1:07 pm

I loved to Jone’s back. Only if the price is right and he gets no guaranted spot.

ATL Sports Fan

January 12th, 2011
1:10 pm

Pass…his time here has come and gone. I cannot imagine he would be good as a paert timer, and you wouldn’t want him to have to pinch hit!

Eternal Pessimist

January 12th, 2011
1:10 pm

How about Lastings Millidge?

Herschel Talker

January 12th, 2011
1:11 pm

Schultzie:

McLouth stinks. But Andruw ain’t much better. And he’s fat and lazy. At least McLouth tries.

HT

johnr

January 12th, 2011
1:12 pm

Given the salary restraints that Wren is working under it makes sense to give him a shot

Ted M

January 12th, 2011
1:14 pm

Of course Andruw would accept a bench roll that’s what he has been doing. Andruw won’t get get 2-3 mil from anyone.

He’s ours if we want him…the only question is “How much does he weigh?”

Ted M

January 12th, 2011
1:15 pm

um…McLouth doesn’t even try to throw the ball. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

Buck Commander

January 12th, 2011
1:17 pm

Kind of like buying insurance. You may not need it very often but its nice to have it when you do, if the price is right and its a good fit bring him back. I will pull for him like I did before.

C'mon Man

January 12th, 2011
1:18 pm

As far as him pinch hitting: Hit .286 with a 1.214 OPS last season as a PH.

As far as being fat and lazy: He for the first time in his career last season took his weight seriously. He came to spring training in good shape and it showed. Stole 9 bases, his highest mark since he was 24 years young. Which if you were wondering that would have placed 2nd on the team in SB behind Mr. Heyward who only had 11 and played most of the year.

Rich T

January 12th, 2011
1:24 pm

I’d say yes, but only because we seem to have no other options.

hmmmmm........

January 12th, 2011
1:25 pm

He’s been on the decline for years, strikes out a ton, and doesn’t have the same range in the outfield. Does anyone think he was a juicer in his prime?

2011 National Champs

January 12th, 2011
1:26 pm

In the words of Bama fans on January 10, 2011. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

ATLcracker

January 12th, 2011
1:28 pm

8th inning. Down 2 runs.Two on. Who do you want up? Jason 1 HR/40 AB, Chipper 1HR/32 AB, Prado 1HR/30 AB, McCann 1HR/22 AB OR Andruw 1 HR/14 AB IN 2010. Also He’s only 34 years old. Chipper will be 39. If you can get him for 750,000 the cost per home run compared to the others will be impressive. I’ve been watching baseball for 55 years. I saw him in Macon regularly the year before he came up to the majors. He was the best defensive center fielder I ever saw. He still has a very good arm. Sign him. Get him a personal trainer if necessary.

Brrrrrrrr. . .

January 12th, 2011
1:30 pm

McLouth to start and Schaefer to back up scares me like it does anyone else who paid attention last year. I wonder if Andrew would be welcomed back into the clubhouse? Regardless, at the price you mentioned it’s worth considering.

Bobbymahlon

January 12th, 2011
1:31 pm

I have mixed emotions about bringing Andruw back because I don’t like players that will not give 100%. On the other hand I would rather see him out there in place of “Can’t throw the ball McLouth” and I should also say doesn’t hit the ball most of the time either. I also hope if they bring him back they won’t bat him cleanup after his buddy Chipper.

C'mon Man

January 12th, 2011
1:31 pm

ATL cracker I was about to post the same numbers. You beat me to it. Kudos!!! Very good point.

2011 National Champs

January 12th, 2011
1:31 pm

Jeff, I really do like your columns but this one is just flat out ridiculous. How many times have the Braves succeeded with players they released and then brought back?

Answer: Not once.

Dozer

January 12th, 2011
1:31 pm

Been there done that – enough of the love handles & uppercut softball swing. He is an OLD 33. Braves fans, its time to move on………..

C'mon Man

January 12th, 2011
1:35 pm

Last time i checked i didn’t see Phillies fans complaining about how many times Ryan Howard strikes out.

C'mon Man

January 12th, 2011
1:36 pm

2011 National Champs: Give some examples.

Deputy dawg

January 12th, 2011
1:37 pm

One of the smartest moves we ever made was to let him leave as a free agent. He is a terrible situational hitter. His homers come off of middle relivers and 4th and 5th starters in non-pressure moments.

With his dramatic drop-off in pproduction at such a young age, I’ve always wondered if he wasn’t much older than his documentation reflects. I’m guessing Andruw is closer to 40 and was older than 19 when he broke in. Remeber Furcal?

SimpleDawg

January 12th, 2011
1:37 pm

Absolutely bring back Andruw !

There’s more why to’s, than why nots.

He would immediately be the third or fourth best outfielder on the team.

C'mon Man

January 12th, 2011
1:38 pm

I wouldn’t consider Otis Nixon as a legitimate example either. Nor, a 42 year old Glavine.

1eyedJack

January 12th, 2011
1:38 pm

Sign him to a make-good minor league contract.

Floyd

January 12th, 2011
1:38 pm

Question: Given the well-earned reputation that Latin American players have for lying early and often about their age, how certain are we that AJ is actually 34?

Were he instead 37 or 38, it sure would explain a lot.