It is official: Ex-Atlanta Braves superstar Andruw Jones has officially signed with the New York Yankees

MLB Trade Rumors is reporting a one-year deal at $2MM bucks with performance incentives worth another $1.2MM for 2011.

Jones has a career batting average of .256 with 407 home-runs and 1,222 RBIs.

This is agent Scott Boras’ second signing in the Bronx this week, as closer Rafael Soriano signed for three years worth $35MM, but he can opt out of the contract at the end of 2011 or 2012 and it doesn’t include a no trade clause.

Soriano was the best closer in the American League last season posting a 1.73 ERA and had 45 saves in 2010.

Soriano will set-up for Mariano Rivera, a job he feels is an absolute privilege.

This was a solid pick-up by Hal Steinbrenner and President Randy Levine, who took the reigns from GM Brian Cashman to get the deal done.

Getting back to Jones, who indisputably was one of the best players in baseball for almost a decade.

Just to get some perspective on how good, in 2005 Jones hit 51 home-runs and 128 RBIs. In the following season Jones’ bat posted 41 bombs and 129 RBIs. Jones also earned a Silver Slugger and Hank Aaron Award in 2005 and two of his 10 Gold Gloves for prevailing defense as an outfielder.

Jones was an absolute monster, as those numbers are so nasty it is to the point of almost unbelievable. 

Please realize that this is not the Jones the Yankees just signed. Super Agent Boras had to do cartwheels to get over $2MM and possibly more, for a player who has fallen like Jones.

Just looking at his seasonal stats, it is easy to see that when the Braves ousted Jones is when his real struggles began.


Here is a little history on Mr. Jones:

Jones signed with the Atlanta Braves when he was just 16. He spent his first 12-seasons in Atlanta. In 2007, the Braves did not renew Jones’ contract. 

Jones had no home pre-2008 season, until signing a two-year, $34MM contract to go play for the Los Angeles Dodgers

That love affair ended after one season, as Jones showed up overweight, out-of-shape and posted a .158 batting average. Clearly, Jones was not interested in being a Dodger and the feeling was mutual. 

This left Jones homeless once again. His best offer was a minor league deal to play for the Texas Rangers in 2009. Jones had no other options, but after showing up fat and not fit, Texas decided not to keep him either.

As a Ranger, Jones played in 82 games, posting a batting average of .222 and slamming 17 home-runs. 

Still, this was a 10-time gold glove winner, who was still productive as recently as two years prior making teams wonder what was going on, because Jones was just 31 years old.

Next up was the Chicago White Sox, who felt that $500,000 was little to lose if they could get Jones close to his old self. Jones signed another one-year deal in 2010, making Chicago his third home in three seasons.

Jones came to White Sox spring training 30 pounds lighter and in shape, which is a positive change. Under the leadership of skipper Ozzie Guillen, Jones hit 19 home runs, 48 RBIs, in 278 at bats and played in 107 games, the most games Jones had played in since 2007.

Jones also had career milestone while in Chicago, hitting home-run #400 on July 11th. 

The White Sox did not resign Jones, as the free agent has now found a new home in the Bronx for at least another season. 


So, what happened to Andruw Jones and why is it still a mystery? 

There has been much speculation, such as: 

  • Depression hit after the Braves let him go, as it was Jones’ home since age 16.
  • Steroids have been blamed due to Jones’ massive numbers in 2005 and 2006 dropped so sharply at the age of 29. Nothing has been proved implicating this happened.
  • Is Jones’ actual age, his real age? Age has been questioned with Jones, mainly due to Miguel Tejada’s admitting to pretending to be two years older, so he would be eligible to play and for a signing bonus. Both are from Curacao in the Caribbean, but Jones did not do this either.

No one knows for sure, but it seems that Jones thought Atlanta was home because he knew nothing else.

My guess is he got depressed and uninspired, feeling kicked out and betrayed by the Braves. That is what makes the most sense, as the behavior is warranted and not uncommon.


My Outlook On Jones In Pinstripes:

As much as I was against this signing, $2MM is pocket change for the Yankees considering the possibilities. It is not my choice to root for the player, but it is for the team so try and see the positives.

It is not secret that Jones wants to make a comeback; he is in playing shape and was once considered a defensive specialist in the outfield. Jones can play all three positions in the outfield and still pretty well from what I have heard.

The five-time All Star is now 33 years old and might never be what he once was, but that is not expected.

If Jones can be three-quarters of that player again this deal could be on the GM Brian Cashman’s Top 10 List of greatest signings.

After last season’s busts like Nick Johnson and Randy Winn, Cashman could use a boost.

I think Yankee fans should be more optimistic about Jones, as he is supposedly great in the clubhouse and he already is friendly with most of his new teammates.

Why this might work is because nothing motivates a player to thrive like New York City, and add that to wearing the Yankee pinstripes and anything is possible.

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