Andruw Jones is one of the most memorable baseball players of my lifetime. He’s not the greatest center fielder of his generation, but he was in the World Series as a teenager. He was a remarkable defensive player, a powerful middle-of-the-order MVP candidate and one of the most recognizable members of those great Braves teams from a decade ago. There was a time when, without a doubt, he seemed to be playing his way toward the Hall of Fame.
How memorable is he today? I’ve covered him the past two years, and on Friday night I read on Twitter that he’d signed to play in Japan. I was surprised for a moment, then I completely forgot about it until the Associated Press confirmed the story and MLB Trade Rumors picked it up this morning.
Jones’ fall has been stunning. Just five years ago he was still a Gold Glover. Six years ago he was an all-star with 41 home runs. Seven years ago, he was No. 2 in the MVP race.
This year he was left off the playoff roster because he was no longer productive even in a limited platoon role.
Here’s the AP with the details of Jones deal in Japan, which will reportedly pay him $3.5 million. Hard to consider this a significant loss for the Yankees, who surely would have looked elsewhere for a right-handed bat next season regardless of Jones availability.
The 35-year-old Jones became a free agent after playing for the New York Yankees the last two seasons, and the Eagles said he is expected to complete a deal after undergoing a physical.
Jones played in 94 games last season for New York, batting .197 with 14 home runs.
Jones is a five-time All-Star and has 10 Gold Gloves. He hit 434 career home runs over 17 seasons in the major leagues and could provide a boost for the Eagles, whose 52 homers were the fewest in Japan last season.
Associated Press photo