Critics of Jacque Jones have backed off this season, given that he’s currently hitting .296 with 13 home runs for the Cubs. He’s been one of very few decent hitters on the team this year. Nonetheless, this trade rumor from the New York Daily News is a breath of fresh air amidst a dismal Cubs season.
If the best Jim Hendry could do for Jones was a bag of baseballs, he should make that deal. Even if it’d be kind of dumb from New York’s point of view. Jones is owed $9MM for 2007-08, his age 32 and 33 seasons. Baseball Prospectus figures him to be worth just a touch over $4MM over that span. Now is the time for Hendry to sell high. Jones has a mediocre but excellent for him OBP of .329 right now. It’s entirely propped up by his .296 average, which is highly unlikely to last when he’s putting the bat on the ball less than 80% of the time. One would also expect his .522 slugging percentage to plummet, as he hasn’t been over .500 since 2002.
The Cubs’ outfield replacement options at Triple A are grim: Michael Restovich, Buck Coats, Felix Pie, Luis Montanez, and Brandon Sing. None are good options this year, but it’s a lost season. Just shed the Jones contract and take another crack at fielding a decent outfield next year. Hendry failed this past offseason in that task, and can consider options like Kenny Lofton, Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez, Carlos Lee, and Alfonso Soriano in the upcoming free agent market. Adding a second Lee to the middle of the lineup should definitely be a major consideration.