Andruw Jones and the White Sox have agreed to a one-year deal worth $500,000 in guarantees and another $1 million in potential incentives, with general manager Ken Williams making it very clear that the five-time All-Star is being brought in as a bench player:
This is an opportunity to add a power bat to the roster while improving our outfield depth. With the addition of Andruw, Mark Kotsay and Omar Vizquel, we feel our bench is taking shape to be a strong asset heading into the 2010 season.
Jones, Vizquel, and Kotsay have combined for 48 seasons, 6,177 games, and 25,290 plate appearances in the big leagues, so if nothing else the White Sox will have the most experienced bench in baseball next year.
Released by the Dodgers last winter despite still being owed $15 million, Jones latched on with the Rangers, made the team out of spring training, and turned heads by hitting .344/.523/.781 in April as a part-time player.
Unfortunately that was basically the extent of his comeback, as Jones batted just .197/.293/.418 in 287 plate appearances from May 1 through the end of the season. He still has plenty of power, but the 10-time Gold Glover can no longer play center field regularly and has hit just .207/.304/.393 over the past three seasons.
Taking a flier on Jones isn’t a bad idea for just $500,000 and he has some uses as a bench player, but don’t expect a return to form following one of the most sudden collapses in baseball history. He looked like a potential Hall of Famer through age 29 and is now just trying to hang onto a roster spot at age 32.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.