First baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones has inked a one-year contract to play with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, according to a report from Nikkan Sports (via NPB Tracker’s Patrick Newman, on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Jones will earn $2.8MM and can take home more money via bonuses/incentives (Twitter link).
The 34-year-old Jones, a client of Relativity Sports, appeared in 57 games with the Yankees last season but struggled to a .215/.256/.361 batting line in the Bronx. That marked an uncharacteristically poor performance for Jones, who in the six years prior had batted a collective .254/.316/.453 in 823 games between the Pirates and Marlins. Jones averaged 19 homers per season in that time and was about 10 percent more productive than the league-average bat, by measure of OPS+ (110).
Jones has struggled with left-handed pitching throughout his career, batting just .194/.237/.333 against same-handed pitchers in 624 plate appearances. However, he’s been quite productive against righties, slashing .265/.330/.473 in his big league career.
Originally a 14th-round pick of the Braves back in 1999, Jones wound up signing with the Twins on a minor league deal in 2002 and made a brief debut with Minnesota in 2007 at the age of 26. However, it wasn’t until 2009 with the Pirates that the then 28-year-old Jones broke out and solidified himself as a Major Leaguer.
Depending on how his season in Japan plays out, Jones could look to return to the Majors next season or remain in Japan beyond the 2016 campaign — an increasingly financially appealing option for players. Jones will be joined by former Major Leaguer Miles Mikolas on the Giants’ 2016 roster; the 27-year-old inked a two-year, $5MM contract with Yomiuri earlier this offseason.