OF Andruw Jones struck out for the 10th time in his 14 spring at-bats. His timing has been so off that he’s been fooled badly by pitches. Jones will lead off every inning of a controlled “B” game Friday morning and then play all nine innings of the afternoon exhibition against the Royals. The Rangers are trying to get him as many at-bats as possible before March 15 when Jones can opt out of his minor league contract and become a free agent.
All the armchair hitting coaches who were convinced when this signing came down that his inability to hit was somehow tied to his being fat last year might be wanting to re-think their positions.
It is probably a good thing Nelson Cruz is in the WBC, because otherwise, it might be hard to justify continuing to give spring ABs to Jones. The Marlon Byrd and David Murphy injury situations don't appear to be significant, and quite honestly, at this point, I have to think the March 15 date is largely irrelevant because, the way Jones has played thusfar, I can't imagine he's going to find a better offer out there if he does opt out.
Maybe something is going to click. Rudy supposedly was a backer of Jones, which I guess means something, although he also was all about wasting four months on Sammy Sosa, and thought that Phil Nevin's desiccated corpse could be resurrected in a DH role in Texas. But I just have a hard time seeing how, after a disastrous 2008 season, getting sent home from winter ball for being terrible (oh, but wait, that was no big deal, right?), and now being awful so far in spring training, 9 ABs in a B game and a handful of spring starts is going to turn him around. I guess this just falls in the category of due diligence, but still...
Yeah, I know, I predicted he'd be on the Opening Day roster, but I'm crawfishing frantically on that right now. I figured he'd show enough to spend a few months in center field while posting a 700 OPS and getting enough RBIs to have the same folks who were all squiggly over Sammy Sosa in 2007 talking about what a great pickup he was.
But I was wrong. And as was pointed out at BTB today, if you look at the guys who are most comparable to Jones through age 31, you see names like Jesse Barfield, Dale Murphy, Roger Maris...really good players who were basically done by the time they were 30 or 31.