Andruw Jones Rumors
Former Major League All-Star Andruw Jones has re-signed a one-year deal with Nippon Professional Baseball's Rakuten Golden Eagles, according to a report from Nikkan Sports (Japanese link). Rakuten has since announced the deal's value at 400 million Yen, or roughly $3.8MM. Jones is represented by agent Scott Boras.
Jones played for the Golden Eagles last season alongside new Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee and the offseason's hottest commodity, Masahiro Tanaka. In 604 plate appearances with Rakuten, Jones batted .243/.391/.454 with 26 home runs. He struck out in more than 27 percent of his plate appearances but also walked at a whopping 17.3 percent clip (in addition to getting hit by 15 pitches).
The 36-year-old last appeared in the Majors with the Yankees in 2011-12. After a strong .247/.356/.495 batting line in his first season with the Bombers, Jones slipped to .197/.294/.408 in 2012, prompting him to sign in NPB the following offseason. In parts of 17 Major League seasons, Jones batted .254/.337/.486 with 434 home runs and won 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1998-2007.
MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports that Jones drew interest from two Major League clubs but elected to return to Japan. Jones will play the 2014 season alongside fellow former All-Star Kevin Youkilis, who signed a one-year deal with Rakuten this offseason as well.
SUNDAY: The Rakuten Eagles have officially announced the signing of Jones, reports the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
TUESDAY: Andruw Jones has agreed to play in Japan for the Rakuten Eagles, according to an Associated Press report (via ESPN.com). Nikkan Sports reported the agreement four days ago (via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker). Jones, a client of the Boras Corporation, will earn $3.5MM or so assuming he passes his physical, according to Nikkan Sports.
Jones played for the Yankees in 2012, hitting 14 home runs and posting a .197/.294/.408 batting line in 269 plate appearances. The 35-year-old played both corner outfield positions and earned a $2MM salary. A right-handed hitter known for his success against left-handed pitching (.258/.357/.496 career batting line), Jones hit ten of his 14 home runs against southpaws in 2012.
The 17-year MLB veteran has 434 career home runs, ten Gold Gloves and five All-Star appearances. Though his production declined after he turned 30, Jones has still been worth 59.5 wins above replacement and could be considered a Hall of Fame candidate.
John Farrell has officially joined the Red Sox after many months of intense speculation. Here are some links, starting in Boston with Farrell’s new team...
- Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo is a strong candidate to join Farrell with the Red Sox, perhaps as the team's bench coach, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. We heard lots about the possibilities for Lovullo yesterday.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledged that Alex Rodriguez is not a superstar, but said he's still an "above-average" player, Peter Botte of the New York Daily News reports. The GM repeated that a deal involving Rodriguez seems "unrealistic." The 37-year-old has five years and $114MM remaining on a contract that includes no-trade protection.
- Derek Lowe, who pitched out of the bullpen for the Yankees down the stretch, says he would like to start again in 2013, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Lowe hits free agency this offseason and probably won't interest the Yankees as a starter in the estimation of Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues.
- Andruw Jones, who also hits free agency this offseason, said he intends to play for four more years, according to King.
The Yankees and Andruw Jones have agreed to a one-year deal with a $2MM base salary and $1.4MM in incentives, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). The deal is pending a physical. The Yankees have a full 40-man roster and will need to clear a spot once the signing becomes official.
Jones, 34, hit .247/.356/.495 with 13 homers for the Yankees last year, doing most of his damage against left-handed pitchers: .286/.384/.540 with eight homers. He figures to again serve as the team's fourth outfielder, spelling the lefty hitting Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner against the AL East's tough southpaws. Jones is a Scott Boras client.
- Third baseman Alex Rodriguez recently traveled to Germany for an experimental therapy called Orthokine on his right knee, reported Mike Puma of the New York Post. Orthokine is similar to Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, which reliever Takashi Saito had done several years ago. The procedure, which was recommended by Kobe Bryant, came with the blessing of the Yankees and the commissioner's office. Puma explains, "Orthokine involves taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning it in a centrifuge, a machine used in laboratories to spin objects around a fixed axis. The serum is then injected into the affected area." Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters the procedure was done on Rodriguez's left shoulder as well. For more on the topic, check out this article from Teri Thompson and Christian Red of the New York Daily News.
- Cashman appears to be waiting for a resolution on the Hiroyuki Nakajima situation before pursuing Eric Chavez any further, tweets MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Hoch says the Nakajima situation will be resolved next week. The Yankees won the exclusive right to negotiate with Nakajima with a bid around $2MM earlier this month.
- Hoch notes that the Yankees are still talking about re-signing Andruw Jones but Cashman says he has nothing to report right now.
A few notes to pass along as Tuesday becomes Wednesday ...
- The Red Sox haven't ruled out signing Roy Oswalt, tweets Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, although sources say the right-hander is not a priority for them. Earlier today we heard that interest in Oswalt has spiked significantly since he's been telling teams he's willing to sign for a one-year deal.
- It seemed inevitable that Yankees would re-sign Andruw Jones earlier this offseason, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports the camps have not made much progress and that the outfielder is garnering interest from other teams, including the Red Sox.
- The Nationals are among the final three suitors for free agent pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, a source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com, who adds that the Marlins are reported to be in the mix, as well.
- Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer told reporters, including Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio, that he and the Twins never had discussions about re-signing once they reached agreement with Josh Willingham (Twitter link).
- The Braves thought they may have been close to trading Jair Jurrjens to the Reds last weekend until Cincinnati instead acquired Mat Latos from the Padres, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman in a mailbag.
- In an interesting thinkpiece at Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh examines why it's becoming increasingly difficult for a GM to stand out from his peers.
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- The Red Sox have not yet made catcher and captain Jason Varitek a contract offer, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Boston added Kelly Shoppach to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway on Tuesday, a move that likely spelled the end of Varitek's time with the Sox.
- There are clubs with interest in trading for both Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey and others with interest in both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, but Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Athletics and Braves are likely to deal their players separately to maximize the return. Rosenthal and Morosi note that the Braves and Orioles have discussed a deal that included both Jurrjens and Prado.
- Interest in free agent closer Francisco Cordero has slowed down, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). His market could hinge on how clubs fill their other roster holes.
- The Pirates still have interest in first baseman Derrek Lee even after trading for Casey McGehee, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Bringing Lee back at first base would allow them to use McGehee at the hot corner with Pedro Alvarez.
- Heyman hears that the Angels put a deadline on their ten-year, $254MM offer to Albert Pujols (Twitter link). The deal did seem to come together very quickly Wednesday night into Thursday morning last week.
- The Rockies do have some money to spend according to Heyman (on Twitter). In addition to Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer, they also have interest in Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, and various trade targets.
- Morosi says (on Twitter) that Andruw Jones could also be an option for the Rockies if Beltran and Cuddyer sign elsewhere.
- The Cardinals' interest in pitching upgrades is "understated," reports Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain on the trade block.
- The Yokohama Bay Stars have released right-hander Hiroki Sanada so that he may pursue a deal in MLB according to a report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. No teams bid on Sanada when he was posted last week.
- The Astros and Rays are possibilities for Ivan Rodriguez, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Though the Mets have discussed Rodriguez, they’re leaning toward relying on Mike Nickeas as their backup to starter Josh Thole.
- MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner says the Joint Drug Agreement should provide Ryan Braun with privacy and fair proceedings. “I urge all to reserve judgment on this matter until the JDA's process has played itself out," Weiner said in a statement.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post shares a few Yankees items and more from around baseball...
- The Yankees have a number of concerns about Yu Darvish and team officials "sounded pessimistic about making a significant posting bid, if they submit one at all." Given how the Yankees have been linked to Darvish for months, it's hard to believe they won't be bidding on the star pitcher, so this could well be some misdirection on the Bombers' part.
- The Yankees were interested in Mark Buehrle but wouldn't offer the veteran more than a two-year contract. This clearly wasn't going to get it done given the large market for Buehrle, who signed a four-year, $58MM pact with the Marlins.
- After "canvassing executives," Sherman finds the consensus is that Prince Fielder will sign with the Cubs. The belief is that Theo Epstein won't pass up the chance to acquire a slugger like Fielder given the lack of power hitters coming onto the market, and Epstein wants to make "a statement sign" in his first year in Chicago.
- Andruw Jones is likely to re-sign with the Yankees but the team will see if they can address starting pitching before taking care of their backups. Jones, for his part, plans to compete for a starting job this spring.
Agent Scott Boras held court in Dallas tonight, providing updates on his many free agent clients and entertaining reporters with quips along the way. Here are the details:
- Boras made it clear that Prince Fielder has drawn lots of interest this offseason. The agent explained that Fielder compares favorably to all-time greats such as Jimmie Foxx and suggested teams will look to lock Fielder up for as long as possible if they recognize his potential as someone who can produce at the plate for the better part of a decade while boosting TV ratings and attendance (Boras' arguments, not mine). He played down concerns about Fielder's body, suggested he's just entering his prime and argued that comparable free agent power hitters won't be available any time soon.
- Fielder doesn't have any geographical preference as to where he signs, tweets Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Boras quipped that the distance from home plate to the outfield fence is the only geography concerning Fielder. For more on Fielder, click here.
- Generally speaking, Boras explained that Seattle and Milwaukee are desirable places to play because they have the potential to draw substantial crowds. He also said "the city [of Los Angeles] is waiting for the return of the Dodgers" and praised the Dodgers as a storied franchise in American sports.
- Johnny Damon played "very well" in 2011, according to Boras. He joked that 38-year-old is in line for a five-year deal, though a one-year contract is probable in reality. Boras half-jokingly suggested the Rays "have lots of money" despite their perennially low payrolls.
- Carlos Pena will likely have multiyear offers, Boras said.
- Asked if Kyle Lohse could waive his no-trade clause, Boras replied that he thinks Lohse is happy in St. Louis, tweets B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest.
- The market for Ivan Rodriguez is narrowing, tweets Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The Nationals aren't in on Pudge, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Nats have some interest in bringing back Rick Ankiel, tweets Comak.
- Boras expects Daisuke Matsuzaka to be healthy and return "sometime this summer," tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- J.D. Drew is undecided on whether he'll play in 2012. It would have to be the right situation.
- Andruw Jones would've liked more playing time in 2011, but understands he won't be a full-time player, tweets MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. A deal with the Yankees is likely in the coming weeks, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- The Braves haven't progressed toward an extension for Michael Bourn, tweets Stephen Goff of Examiner.com.
MLBTR's Luke Adams co-wrote this post.
TUESDAY: The Indians are looking at right-handed hitters such as Derrek Lee, Andruw Jones, and Mike Cameron, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Yesterday we heard the Indians have mild interest in Josh Willingham, and on Friday they were linked to Mark DeRosa.
Also, Morosi says the Indians are willing to trade from their bullpen depth to acquire the right bat.