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Rejuvenated Andruw Jones leads the way as Yankees down Red Sox

Jul 9, 2012, 12:10 AM EDT

Andruw Jones Getty Images

Figuring his right-handed stroke would serve him well at Fenway Park, the Red Sox pursued Andruw Jones for a part-time role over the winter. Andruw, though, had fun in his first year in the Bronx and opted to stick around, perhaps passing up some money in the process.

For a measly $2 million — one percent of the Yankees’ payroll — Jones has 11 homers this season, including four in the last three games. He delivered a two-run blast and an RBI single tonight as part of the Yankees’ 7-3 win in Boston.

The Red Sox lost three out of four in the series to fall back to .500 (43-43) with the first half over. They’re a full nine games back of the Yankees (52-33).

For what it’s worth, missing out on Jones probably didn’t hurt the Red Sox. If they had signed Andruw, it’s doubtful they would have added Cody Ross later, and Ross has hit .265 with 13 homers and 40 RBI in 56 games this year.

Still, Jones has been a bargain for the Bombers two years running now, delivering 24 homers and 55 RBI in 317 at-bats as a member of the Yankees.

Jones has played pretty strictly against lefties, but there’s little reason to think he wouldn’t be at least adequate in regular playing time. He hasn’t hit for average in limited action against righties the last two years, but he’s barely gotten to face them and he’s still showed good power against them. Also, while he certainly can’t cover ground like he used to, he’s still a pretty good defender in a corner.

That Jones has spent the last few years as a role player — he hasn’t had even 300 at-bats in a season since 2007 — could well cost him a chance at the Hall of Fame. But that’s probably not fair. As great of a defender as he used to be, he played at a Hall of Fame level at his peak. And while the fact that he’s hitting 15 homers per year now instead of 25 will hurt his career numbers,  he’s contributing more as a role player than Hall of Famers like Jim Rice, Roberto Alomar and Lou Brock did as regulars towards the end of their careers.

That said, the fact that he was done as a regular at age 30 is damning, even if he ends up getting to 500 homers. At age 35, he’s just 69 away, so he still has a legitimate shot.

  1. pisano - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    He’d be unstoppable in Fenway Park with that little league distance left field.

    • bigleagues - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      Yeah, cuz Little League Left Fields are 304 Feet to the corner and 378 Feet to Left Center with a 37 Foot wall in between.

      Yeah, I see those in every town. Good point by you.

  2. bozosforall - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    MORE deserving that Jim “i only got in on the 15th try because th Boston media slurped he HOF voters off” Rice.

    • cur68 - Jul 9, 2012 at 2:18 AM

      bozo, everything about you is odious. Your name, your comments, your douchey remarks. Get lost.

      • aceshigh11 - Jul 9, 2012 at 2:45 AM

        Bingo. “Odious” is a perfect description.

        He’s a thoroughly grotesque, demented and damaged individual, completely devoid of empathy or joy.

        The hatred and rage that oozes out of every one of his posts make me sick. He needs to be permanently banned with extreme prejudice.

      • cur68 - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:07 PM

        Shall we add unmitigated asshat to that? Yes. Let us also add unmitigated asshat to odious.

      • bozosforall - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:15 PM

        GFY, idiot Canucklehead.

      • bozosforall - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        Go screw yourself, idiot Canucklehead.

      • cur68 - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:07 PM

        Get lost, you unmitigated odious asshat.

      • bozosforall - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:24 PM

        Looks like someone got a dictionary for Chrismas last year. As usual, you continue to fail to impress me, Canucklehead.

      • cur68 - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:14 AM

        Urban dictionary does the trick;
        1. ass-hat
        One whose head is so far up their rear end it could pass for a hat; used to describe a person who is stubborn, cruel, or otherwise unpleasant to be around.

  3. Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    He’s basically Dale Murphy, only if Murph had managed to crawl back up after falling off the cliff and become a productive role player after his collapse.

    Right?

    • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:08 AM

      Whaddaya know, B-R has the two of them as each other’s top comp. Let’s see how long he can stay productive. 500 may not be the magic number it used to be, and Jones had some other flaws in his game that make his raw home run totals somewhat overrated, but he was arguably the best defensive center fielder in the past half century. That’s gotta be worth a look, right?

      • bigleagues - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        If Andrew Jones gets any more consideration than Dwight Evans ever got, then the whole HOF system should be blown up.

        Dewey was as great a RF as Andrew Jones was a CF but did it longer. Evans manned what arguably remains the most treacherous RF in all of baseball and remained the starting RF through his age 34 season, managing to finish 3rd in Assists among RF’ers and 4th among RF’ers in Total Zone Runs.

        Additionally Evans got better as a hitter, even becoming one of the best in baseball at drawing a walk in the second half of his career. He remained a highly productive everyday player through his age 37 season.

        In fact it can be argued that starting in 1981 (Age 29) Evans elevated his game to become one of the elite hitters in the game.

        From 1981 thru 1991 only one player averaged 25 HR, 150 Hits, 90 Walks, 90 Runs, and 90 RBI . . . Dwight Evans. And that he had that run of production from age 29-39 places him in some very elite company:

                                                                                                        
        Rk             Player  HR    R  RBI   BB    H From   To   Age    G   PA  2B   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
        1         Barry Bonds 481 1269 1164 1565 1565 1994 2004 29-39 1547 6655 305 .315 .481 .681 1.162
        2           Babe Ruth 470 1379 1433 1303 1809 1924 1934 29-39 1528 6696 275 .342 .474 .683 1.157
        3     Rafael Palmeiro 419 1029 1249  932 1778 1994 2004 29-39 1675 7289 338 .285 .379 .545  .924
        4       Chipper Jones 265  901  926  901 1564 2001 2011 29-39 1452 6094 322 .305 .406 .531  .937
        5        Dwight Evans 257  985  941  976 1558 1981 1991 29-39 1542 6680 296 .278 .385 .484  .869
        6      Edgar Martinez 246  907  969  952 1593 1992 2002 29-39 1383 6028 390 .322 .433 .553  .986
        7    Carl Yastrzemski 242  941  957  989 1646 1969 1979 29-39 1641 6959 275 .280 .382 .458  .839
        8         Bob Johnson 233 1025 1098  932 1728 1935 1945 29-39 1580 6814 326 .296 .395 .501  .896
        

        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool UsedGenerated 7/9/2012.

        For his career he’s

        XBH (Career): 50th
        Times on Base (Career): 52nd (Led the AL twice)
        Runs Created (Career): 63rd (including 7 Top Ten finishes and twice leading the AL)
        Assists (RF, Career): 10th
        Putouts (RF, Career): 3rd
        Putouts (OF, Career): 52nd
        Fielding% (RF, Career): Tied 22nd (again, in one of if not the most difficult RF in MLB)

        Add it all up, and there have been few more consistent highly productive players on both sides of the ball in the history of the game. And yet, the voters in their infinite wisdom dropped Dewey from the ballots in 1999.

        I have always maintained that the case for Dwight Evans HOF enshrinement was/is stronger than Jim Rice’s.

        Is he a big hall candidate? Some might argue that. But I have felt for a long time that defense is grossly undervalued, even ignored, for HOF candidates unless they play up the middle, and particularly in the infield.

        Under those circumstances guys who could barely hit the ball out of the IF (cough, Ozzie Smith) are shoe-ins while guys who save Home Runs, turn doubles into singles and shoot down runners at Home are routinely devalued.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        I’ve long argued that Dwight Evans is a HOFer, but if your contention is that Jones getting in over him would be the straw that broke the camel’s back on ridiculous HOF decisions, you’re nuts. Evans is the sort of guy whose value was dispersed across many different areas, so it was tough for him to stand out in any one. That sort of player has long been undervalued by the Hall. Jones, on the other hand, concentrated his value in two very specific areas – HR and defense at a premium position. Him getting in when Evans didn’t might look funny on its own, but when compared to all the other wacky results HOF balloting has gotten us, this wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow.

    • hittfamily - Jul 9, 2012 at 2:08 AM

      The best defensive center fielder since Mays, and perhaps even better, deserves to be in regardless of what he does at the plate. 440 HR should make him a no doubter.

      He’s been more productive in the tail end of his career than most defense first position players that are or will be HOFers. Vizquel, Griffey, Ozzie, Cal, Pudge, the other Pudge, Alomar, Brock, Piazza etc etc all slowed considerably at the tail end of their careers. His career declined after 11 years, but it hurts him that he was so successful, so young. If he’d have come up at 25, and declined at 35, he’d be a sure bet HOFer. The fact that he came up at 19 and declined at 30 is an unfair criticism.

      His spectacular 11 years is worthy!

      • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:35 AM

        Sorry, it wasn’t very clear at all from what I wrote, but I think he deserves to be in right now. I was more talking about his electability.

  4. mianfr - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    He ranks as Baseball Reference’s third best defender ever and was definitely one of the game’s elites at his peak. He also had a fat and lazy spell that murdered his counting numbers.

    I think he’s a borderline in. Will have to wait on the ballot for a gap in other stars (like Morris this year, when he’ll get in, except Andruw is deserving).

    He’s well over the magic 60-WAR mark, too.

    500 home runs would sure help, though.

    • southofheaven81 - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:28 AM

      He made a couple beautiful diving saves this weekend (that much baseball tends to blend together, I think it was the Saturday day game).

  5. vallewho - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    these days, as a long ball threat, his at bats are more interesting than A-Rod’s.

  6. Ben - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Jones, to me, is an easy HoFer. But you have to be willing to accept his defense as an integral part of his case. Not all voters do, and so I’d be surprised if he makes it, or makes it quickly.
    By fWAR he’s sitting at 73 WAR with a tremendous peak (mostly due to defense). I’d take him.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      I dunno, the more I think about it, the more I think he’s got a solid shot. Jones is one of the cases where pretty much all of the defensive stats and the eye test agree that he was a preposterously good defensive CF, so you’re not going to get any “Brett Gardner was more valuable than Ryan Braun?!” backlash there. 500 HR (if he gets it) + all-time great defensive CF probably gets him in. It’s kind of funny, given that despite the HR he’s been more of a good hitter than a great one (below-average OBP will do that to you), but again, my god that defense.

      Sorry, I’m rambling. But Jones’ fascinating career does that too me sometimes.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        I wonder if being so good, so young might hamper him. People will remember he was a good defender early in his career, but will they think of him as great? They’ll remember him for all the HR’s he hit when he was young, but that was so long ago. Remember he broke onto the national stage at 18 in the ’96 World Series!

      • Ben - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        Chuch, I think you might be right there–what people will remember is years of a broken old man, not the fiery dynamo of youth. I knew someone my age who got into baseball late and all he knew was the broken-down Griffey of the Reds, and not the Griffey who set the world on fire.

  7. uyf1950 - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:31 AM

    HOF’er or not, I’m just glad he had a heck of a 3 games against Boston this weekend. I’ll leave it at that.

    • pisano - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      Amen, my friend.

  8. jfk69 - Jul 9, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    Lets see if A flop can match those numbers. His stick is starting to look like from here out a 275 avg 20 hr and 85 rbi’s….and that is in the Yankee lineup I don’t pay 26 million per year for that.

  9. southofheaven81 - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    When Gardner comes back I still want him in LF, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Jones become the everyday DH if his power numbers continue to at least resemble this past weekend.

  10. exibitsman - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    I think he is really 5 to 7 years older then he says he is. he closer to 40 years old right now

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      Any particular reasons(ing?) behind this? Or just wild accusations?

      • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:37 AM

        All players from Latin America lie about their age. D’uh. This is why we need to only draft American boys. #bicepts

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        That’s pretty much where I assumed (s)he was going, but it’s amazing how often people will allude to it, but not come out and say it directly. Same with all the “Pete Rose not being in the HoF is the greatest injustice in MLB” crap that occasionally gets posted.

  11. deathmonkey41 - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    This weekend actually gave him a legitimate reason to smile all the time.

  12. hasbeen5 - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    I was 12 in ’96 when he had the 2 bombs in the Series game, and he was so much fun to watch during his time in Atlanta. It’s weird to me that people are saying that he has a shot at the HoF, because it seems like he just disappeared for a couple years, but I’m glad he’s getting the recognition. He was at least as good as Griffey in center, and his hands were almost Sheffield quick when he was young. Hope he gets in.

    • alan3008 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      He won’t. He was a roider. Look at how his productivity dropped after the steroid scandal. It dropped like a ball of the end of the table, similar to how it did with other players on steroids. That just doesn’t happen with normal players.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        Mandatory testing began in ’04, so let’s check out some seasonal numbers:

        ’04 – .261/.345/.488, 112 OPS+ with 29 HR and 34 2b
        ’05 – .263/.347/.575, 136 OPS+ with 51 HR and 24 2b
        ’06 – .262/.363/.531, 126 OPS+ with 41 HR and 29 2b

        Collectively he hit .262/.352/.532, a 125 OPS+ with an average of 40 HR and 29 2b in the three years following mandatory drug testing. If that’s dropping like a ball at the end of the table, you must be watching someone else.

      • hasbeen5 - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        Thanks for proving him wrong for me. He’s obviously dealing in what he hopes is reality rather than what is in fact reality.

        And hey, even if he did use steroids, so did Fernando Vina, and I didn’t see him hitting 40 bombs or playing all time great defense.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        I don’t get why people think he’s on ‘roids. Jones was never like Bonds, who could hit good pitches over the wall. He was a three true outcomes kind of guy who could crush mistakes. I think it was Mike Axisa of RAB who mentioned he easily has the most raw power of anyone on the Yankees the last few years. Here’s just a couple:

        454′ blast in Oakland – http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21808953&c_id=mlb
        430′ blast in YSIII – http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18441499
        “423′” shot at Target Field – http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18164231

        He hit ball far!

  13. pxeeks - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    He’s prob a juicer. Numbers and productivity declined when MLB started to test for PED’s.

    • thefalcon123 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      The comprehensive drug testing policy began in spring of 2006.

      Andruw Jones hit 41 home runs and slugged .531 that year.

      I think Jones suffered from a far more common problem that plagues major league baseball called “turning 30″. It happens to hundreds of players a year with devastating results. When will MLB finally do something about this problem!

      It should also be noted that in his last 3 seasons, Jones has 694 PAs, roughly the same he had in 2001. In that time, he has 43 homers, 103 RBI and a .239/.343/.499 line. Granted, this is helped by platooning, but his offense is still pretty damn good.

  14. alan3008 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Jones is not a Hall of Famer. He was probably on steroids in his prime and may be popping them now. A Hall of Fame player can hit both lefties and righties. Not just one. He was an outstanding outfielder though, with huge range. Nuff said.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      A Hall of Fame player can hit both lefties and righties

      4 players, one is Jones, the other three are HoFers:

      L/R Career Splits (RHP, LHP)

      A – .254/.330/.483, .262/.360/.505
      B – .269/.374/.509, .249/.321/.455
      C – .273/.317/.469, .296/.341/.518
      D – .293/.340/.495, .313/.382/.521

      [players are Jones, Reggie Jackson, Andre Dawson and Jim Rice. I don't really see much of a difference between those three and Jones, and Jones was a far better defender than all of them]

      def rWAR/rWAR

      Jones: 24.4/60.3
      Jackson: -17.2/68.4
      Dawson: 0.9/60.6
      Rice: -8.8/44.3

  15. thefalcon123 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Just looking at offense, no way in hell should Jones be a HOFer. He has a 112 OPS+, with a .256/.339/.489 line. He never posted a 140 OPS+, and he was never the elite hitter people seemed to think he was. He was a guy with power and ok on base skills. There were a lot of those in the late 90’s, earl 00’s.

    …but when you add that offense in with a glove that was easily the best of his era and arguably the greatest of all time…well…I think he has a pretty legitimate HOF case.

    Unfortunately, HOF voters still don’t understand the defensive spectrum and that there is a huge difference between CF and the corners. Though he should go, I have no doubt that Jones will be passed and drop off the ballot fairly quickly.

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