Free agent outfielder Andruw Jones is drawing a bit of interest after spending the 2013 season in Japan, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Jones is about three months shy of his 37th birthday, having posted a .243/.391/.454 slash line with 26 home runs as a member of the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Cotillo writes that Jones would love to return to Japan, but the interest may be stronger stateside. The Golden Eagles paid him $3.6 million on a one-year deal for the 2013 season. The best Jones could hope for with a Major League team is a Minor League deal with an invitation to spring training.
We last saw Jones in the Majors in 2012 as part of a platoon with Raul Ibanez on the Yankees. He hit a miserable .197 for the Yankees though he did crank out 14 home runs.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.