Andruw Jones, who officially retired last month at age 38 after finishing his career in Japan, has taken a job with the Braves as a special assistant to baseball operations.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com the 10-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder will “work with outfielders throughout the organization and also aid with some international initiatives.” He’ll also be inducted to the team’s Hall of Fame this year.
Jones debuted for the Braves as a 19-year-old in 1996 and played 12 seasons in Atlanta before leaving as a free agent. His career quickly went downhill from there, although he had some productive stints as a part-time player before going to Japan in 2013 at age 36. He finished as a career .254 hitter with 434 homers and an .823 OPS in 2,196 games, making five All-Star teams along with being considered one of the elite defensive players of all time.
Jones’ longtime teammate Chipper Jones was previously hired for a similar role within the Braves organization.
Free agent outfielder David Murphy, who began his MLB career with Boston is 2006, is now back with the Red Sox on what Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports is a minor-league contract.
Murphy is coming off a solid year with the Indians and Angels in which he hit .283 with 10 homers and a .739 OPS in 132 games. While stretched as an everyday corner outfielder, Murphy has generally been very useful when spotted against right-handed pitching. He has a lifetime .278 batting average and .795 OPS versus righties, compared to hitting .258 with a .655 OPS off lefties.
Murphy was Boston’s first-round draft pick in 2003 and played 23 games for the Red Sox before being traded to the Rangers in July of 2007 as part of the Eric Gagne deal. If he makes the Opening Day roster Murphy’s deal will pay $2 million.
Third baseman Juan Uribe agreed to a one-year deal with the Indians, but an announcement was delayed by more than a week due to visa issues. It’s now official and the contract is worth $4 million, which means the 36-year-old veteran coaxed an extra million bucks or so out of Cleveland based on their initial reported offer in January.
Uribe has remained remarkably productive into his mid-30s, hitting .253 with 14 homers and a .737 OPS in 119 games last season and a combined .281 with a .761 OPS from 2013-2015. He’s also still a plus defender at third base and is always talked about as a beloved clubhouse presence.
Giovanny Urshela had been penciled in as the Indians’ starting third baseman, but Uribe’s arrival likely pushes him back to Triple-A for a while as Cleveland tries to beef up its roster to make a run at the AL Central title.
One-time All-Star reliever Matt Capps threw for teams earlier this month in the hopes of securing a minor-league contract to attempt a comeback and he looked decent enough to convince the Diamondbacks to sign him.
Capps hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 with the Twins and the 32-year-old right-hander logged a grand total of just 12 professional innings from 2013-2015 due to arm problems.
He seems likely to begin the season at Triple-A, where the former Pirates, Nationals, and Twins closer will try to prove to the Diamondbacks that can still be a useful bullpen piece after all these years.
Abraham Almonte, who was slated to be the Indians’ starting center fielder this season, has been suspended 80 games by MLB following a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug.
Cleveland may already be without All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley to begin the season due to shoulder surgery, so losing Almonte for the first three months is a particularly big blow to the Indians’ outfield depth and puts recent minor-league signing Will Venable in much better position to crack the Opening Day roster.
Almonte bounced around before landing with the Indians in the middle of last season and played his way into an extended opportunity by hitting .264 with five homers and a .776 OPS in 51 games. He never put up huge numbers in the minors, so it’s possible that by the time Almonte is eligible to return from his 80-game suspension the Indians will have moved on from the 26-year-old.