By Mike Moritz
Edited By Jack E. Cody
On January 20th, the New York Yankees made a key acquisition to add to their bench. New York signed right handed hitting Andruw Jones to be the fourth-outfielder to a one-year deal for $2 million with incentives up to $1.2 million. The Yankees were looking to snag a right handed hitting outfielder to compliment Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner, both lefty hitters, and give them some flexibility off the bench. Jones has a career .863 OPS against right handers and a .931 mark in 2010. Jones stood in at .230/.341/.486 and a .364 wOBA. He also hit 19 homers in 278 at bats so he although his batting average has dropped of for years, he can still put the ball over the fence a good amount. He also saw 4.20 P/PA which is a very valuable asset for a bench player. Jones will come of the bench as a pinch hitter throughout the season and to get up to plate and see a lot pitches will work in Jones's favor.
Jones's defense is not quite what it used to be when he was an Atlanta Brave and it seemed as though nothing could miss his glove but he is still competent in the outfield. Jones, whose years in Atlanta had set him up to be what looked like a star player through his career, ran into a wall in his career in his first and only year in a Dodger uniform and since has been jumping around from team to team. He will look to defiantly re-boost his career in the Bronx. This is a very good signing for the Yankees and Jones will be a big asset to this years Yankee ball club. Jones also has 407 career home runs to his credit.
As for the Tampa Bay Rays, they made two nice additions just one day after the Jones signing. Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon will be reuniting, but this time it will not be in a Boston Red Sox uniform, but rather the division rival, Rays.
Manny will be bringing his act to Tampa on one-year deal worth $2 million. It looks like he will be platooning with Damon as DH considering that Damon is a lefty hitter and Manny being a right handed hitter. Manny last year hit .298/.409/.460/.382 (wOBA) but that very nice line includes a career low .162 ISO. He hit just 9 long balls, also a career, low in 265 at bats. Manny can still get it done with the bat, he just does not have the power that he used to posses according to his lowest fly ball rate (34.3%) since 2002 in which he posted a 30.4% rate. At the age of 39, it is very unlikely that he will bounce back with more pop in his bat.
Damon's contract is also one-year but this one is worth a little more at $5.25 million. Damon, like Manny, is getting old and his legs are clearly not what they used to be. He might get about 15-20 starts in the outfield this year but will ultimately be platooning as the DH with Manny, as mentioned before. Like Manny, Damon saw his home run total drop painfully to just seven after hitting 24 in New York in 2009. And again, just like Manny, Damon can still get the job done at the plate. His line drive, ground ball and fly ball rates all stayed within a slim 1.9% range between those stats and his HR/FB ratio was very low at 4.8% compared to 8.9% so perhaps Damon can turn it back on and hit about 15 homers again, but since he will probably be platooning maybe not. Damon is 37 years old and turns 38 in November.
(Stats in courtesy of: espn.com and fangraphs.com)