Monday, August 4, 2008

What business does Andruw Jones have on a diamond?

andruw jones Andruw Jones, as you may know, has been struggling as of late. He is not hitting the baseball. Jones finished the 2007 season with the Braves with a shiny .222 average and a glimmering .311 OBP. Not quite what you expect from a guy making $14 million a year. After that disaster of a season, Jones declared himself a free agent. You'd think that the race to sign a guy coming off a season like that wouldn't have many competitors, and you would be right. Unless, of course, your name is Ned Colletti, GM, LA Dodgers. Colletti decided that Andruw Jones was the big bat his team needed. Colletti -- the only GM interested in signing Jones besides Royals GM Dayton Moore -- rewarded Jones handsomely, signing him to a 2-year, $36.2 million deal. Jones received a $12.2 million signing bonus, earns $9 million in 2008, and $15 million in 2009. Usually, when you sign a suspect player, you leave your back door open, your ramp down, and your stairway fully extended. Not Ned! He locked himself in, big time. The Red Sox couldn't move Manny when he was making $17 million a year. Do the Dodgers have any chance of moving a scrub like Jones when he is set to make $15 million next year? No.

Well, Jones didn't disappoint. He is batting .161, with a .260 OBP. He has 2 HR, and has knocked in 13 runs. His SLG% is .241 -- 20 points lower than his OBP. "Well, he must not be starting a lot," you say. Wrong. Jones has racked up 199 at bats, more than half of what would be expected if he was a full time starter. He is on track to knock in 23 runs all season. If we multiply that projection to assume that he makes 550 at bats in the season -- a starter's number -- he would knock in 37 runs. Probably not the big bat Colletti had in mind.

Now, all these numbers are interesting. But here is the real kicker. Jones has played in every single game since July 4th, when he came off the DL. Prior to his injury, he had played in all but one game this season.

Unbelievable. The guy is giving away outs to the opposing team, and you continue to throw him out there every single night. And, Jones doesn't even try to move the ball. Of his 227 plate appearances, 73 have ended in strike outs. Every three times Jones steps to the plate, he strikes out once. By comparison, Adam Dunn -- who had 195 K's in 2004, which at the time was an MLB record* -- does so once in every four plate appearances. Why is the NL West incapable of making smart personnel decisions? What is it about that division that makes them unable to resist signing bad players to monster contracts? Barry Zito, Mike Hampton, Andruw Jones, just off the top of my head.

Statistical proof that Andruw Jones has stopped hitting - June 23rd, 2007
If someone handed you $15 million... - May 2nd, 2008

*Thanks to our anonymous commenter for the correction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ryan Howard has struck more times in a season than Dunn. Dunn's career high is 195 in '04, and Howard struck out 199 times last year.