Jeff Wilson says Jon Daniels has confirmed the New York Post story reporting that the Rangers will announce the signing of Andruw Jones to a minor league deal this week.
Jones can opt out of his deal on March 20, presumably if he isn't on the 40 man roster at that point.
I don't get this move. It tells me that the Rangers don't believe that Nelson Cruz or Brandon Boggs are major league caliber outfielders. If they did, there's no place for Jones on this team.
I know it will be suggested that adding Jones means that the Rangers can move Marlon Byrd, but they could do that anyway. I'd be perfectly on board with going with a Murphy/Boggs platoon in left field, Hamilton in center, and Cruz in right. That Murphy/Boggs combination could give you above average offense and defense in left from a couple of guys who will be making the league minimum for a couple more years.
That option, though, appears to be getting pushed by the wayside for the opportunity to bring in another "reclamation project," another guy in his 30s who isn't part of the future of this team, but which the rebuilding Rangers appear to think can be part of the present.
I don't get it. With Byrd, Murphy, Hamilton and Cruz all here, plus Blalock at DH, there's no room for Jones to get any playing time even if he looks okay this spring. Keeping Jones on the 25 man roster to start the season only makes sense if you are going to play him regularly, and it seems likely his playing time would come at the expense of Cruz, who, after his strong finish to 2008, seemed to be in position to be the starting right fielder, but who now appears to be back in limbo.
I just don't see what the point of this move is. It makes me wonder if the organization isn't thinking that maybe -- just maybe -- this team can be a contender, and figures that Jones might be able to win them a couple of more games than they could win with Murphy or Cruz or Boggs or Julio Borbon.
I can't see that being real likely, though.
And for those who ask why I like signing Jason Jennings and Brendan Donnelly, but not Jones...
Well, the answer is that the Rangers can use pitching depth, particularly with the loss of Eric Hurley and Joaquin Benoit for the season, but aren't lacking for outfield depth. Given the roster and the likelihood of injury, Jennings and Donnelly and Derrick Turnbow and the like are a lot more likely to be needed, and in a position to contribute meaningfully, than Jones would.
So yeah, I don't particularly like this move. I fear it will turn into another Sammy Sosa situation, where a well-past-his-prime reclamation project shows enough in spring training to stick and ends up starting for the bulk of the season, even though he's not really a good player and even though there are players in-house the Rangers should be evaluating instead.