Eric Hinske is officially a member of the Atlanta Braves, but it’s the corresponding move that caught my attention: To make room for Hinske on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated Brandon Jones for assignment.
Jones entered the 2008 season as the Braves No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America. He was ranked ahead of Gorkys Hernandez and even ahead of Tommy Hanson. The three players ahead of him were Jordan Schafer, Jordan Heyward and Jair Jurrjens, which is a pretty strong group. Jones was seen as the Braves’ left fielder of the future.
Clearly, his stock has dropped the past two years. Jones hit .267 with one home run in 41 big league games in 2008, and his Triple-A numbers that season weren’t much better. Last year, though, Jones was solid with Triple-A Gwinnett (.281 with seven homers, 28 doubles and a .360 on-base percentage). He just turned 26 in December.
Best I can tell, Jones still has one option remaining. He had his contract purchased at the end of the 2007 season and would have been optioned in 2008 and 2009.
I wonder if Jones might make sense for the Yankees to put in a claim, if only because their outfield is pretty thin in the upper levels of the minor league system. Jones bats left-handed, so he’s not exactly what the team is looking for at the major league level this season, but he could be a nice bit of competition in spring training and good depth during the year.