Jones, Marlins Close To Deal?

The Florida Marlins are likely looking to upgrade in center field, where incumbent Alfredo Azemaga is hitting a svelte .226/.311/.292. They’re also likely looking for someone to help shoulder the load of injured OF Josh Willingham, who just experienced a setback in his rehab — though Luis Gonzalez has hit fairly well since replacing him, at .317/.369/.433 in 16 games. So they’re a likely destination for free agent Jacque Jones.

Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinal has something of a third-hand rumor that the Marlins could sign Jones by this evening. Damon Lapa, Jones’s agent, has, of course, denied the rumor. He says that he and his client hope to narrow down a list in the next few days before ultimately deciding on a destination. His new team will only be on the hook for a prorated amount of the league minimum $390,000.

"We’ve started some dialogue with a number of clubs," Lapa said. "Ever since he technically became free there’s been an uptick in intensity. He’s weighing all his options."

Rodriguez notes that Jones is from and continues to reside in San Diego, and might seek employment closer to home. The Padres could probably use him, though I’m not sure Jones would want to sign there, given the team’s play to this point. The two LA teams have plenty of outfielders.

The Marlins still do seem like the most likely destination. The only small problem I can see is that both Jones and Azemaga have clear career splits showing they hit righties better than lefties, though Jones bucked that trend last year in 87 plate appearances against southpaws. But that shouldn’t stop the Marlins from pursuing a potential upgrade in center.

Joe Pawlikowski writes for River Ave Blues, a Yankees blog, and can be reached here.

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