David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a thorough dissection of the Andruw Jones situation.
The Braves have yet to speak to Jones, and their intentions for the center field spot in ’08 are anybody’s guess. If the Braves want to go short-term, it appears Andruw would consider a one-year offer. Scott Boras scoffed at the idea a few months ago but Jones had a subpar second half since then. If the Braves still want to lock him up, O’Brien reports that Jones might take a five-year, $75MM pact. I don’t see the Braves doing it.
As for fitting Andruw into the 2008 budget, the team’s president has indicated that payroll is likely to rise next year. It could reach the $90-100MM range. Payroll stood at $87MM on Opening Day.
Here’s the problem: even subtracting Jones’ $13.5MM salary and replacing him internally with, say, Kelly Johnson, the Braves are looking at roughly a $7MM net increase just with current players. Hudson, Smoltz, and Teixeira’s raises will add roughly $17MM to the payroll, plus another several million for arbitration-eligible players. So a $95MM payroll might just buy the Braves their current roster sans Andruw and Octavio Dotel. Trading Edgar Renteria might be a necessity.
Meanwhile, Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported that the Padres are mulling a one-year offer to Jones in excess of his current $13.5MM salary. The Nationals and many other clubs could make a similar one-year offer.