Unhappy Anniversary: Dodgers sign Andruw Jones
On this date in 2007, the Dodgers signed Andruw Jones to a two-year contract that was nothing short of a disaster.
On this date seven years ago, the Dodgers signed outfielder Andruw Jones to a two-year contract worth $36.2 million. The $18.1 million average annual value was the fifth highest in baseball at the time.
Jones, then 30, was coming off the worst full season of his career, in which he hit .222/.311/.413 (87 OPS+) with 26 home runs for the Braves. The year before he hit 41 homers and the year before that he led MLB with 51 homers. Given his age, there was reason to think Jones would rebound. Instead, he did this with Los Angeles:
Egads. Jones somehow managed to accumulate -1.6 WAR in only 238 plate appearances. He missed a total of 76 games due to knee surgery but the club didn't exactly miss him. In fact, the injury allowed a promising young outfielder named Matt Kemp to get his first extended stint as the team's everyday center fielder.
The Dodgers had Kemp, Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre and Manny Ramirez all under contract for the 2009 season, so there was no room for a wholly unproductive Jones. So, Jones and the club came to what amounted to a buyout agreement in January 2009. The Dodgers granted him his release and he agreed to defer a significant portion of the money still owed to him.
"Obviously this is a disappointing day for both us and Andruw, as we all had high hopes for him when he signed last year given his track record and everything that we had seen from him in the past and heard about him," said GM Ned Colletti after Jones was released. "I know that Andruw is also very disappointed in the way things turned out and the best thing to do at this point is to turn the page and we wish him well."
Jones hooked on with the Rangers a few weeks later and spent the 2009-12 seasons as a productive platoon outfielder (108 OPS+) with Texas, the White Sox and Yankees. The Dodgers, meanwhile, had to pay Jones a couple million bucks every year from 2009-14. Yes, the Dodgers were still paying Andruw Jones this past season.
Free agent contracts don't work out much worse than this one, folks.
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