After almost no mention of Andruw Jones in the free agent market, he emerges with a two-year, $36.2 million deal with the Dodgers. This is the contract I have been waiting for. Andruw’s 2007 may have been the worst performance, relative to career numbers, by a player entering the final year of his contract in the history of baseball. I was curious as to what this would mean. In the end, I think that one year harmed his value, mainly because it scared away teams from signing a long-term deal.
But, the announcers on the radio this morning couldn’t believe he could command such a big salary. How can I say that 2007 hurt his value, after he pulls in $18.1 million a year? Based on his previous three-years, factoring in salary growth and aging, I anticipate Jones’s performance being worth about $40 million over the next two seasons. This prediction includes his 2007 campaign. Had he signed a five-year deal, like Torii Hunter, he would have been worth $110 million [UPDATE: I found a slight mistake in my initial calculation, and the actual estimate is $108 million.] This is the type of deal Jones missed out on. If Jones does tank, you don’t want to be known as the GM who agreed to it. Fans can live with a two-year mistake.
My numbers are higher than what he got, but not too far off. I wonder if he would have gotten more had his 2007 happened in 2006. Any GM signing Jones has to be wary that 2007 might have indicated a new performance level. Though teams were cautious, I think when you look at his body of work and the shape of his 2007 numbers, there is too much upside there to ignore. The Dodgers have hired a better player than Hunter at about the same price, and without the long-term commitment. I think it’s a good deal for them. I’ll let them handle the log-jam in the outfield.
Jones comes out looking good, too. He gets some big-time money and has the opportunity to hit the free agent market again while he is still relatively young. Like most Braves fans, I grew up disliking the Dodgers, but I will be rooting hard for Andruw. He took a lot of heat in Atlanta for things he didn’t deserve, like not living up to unrealistic expectations. I’ll be sure to get an outfield seat when he comes to Atlanta and I will applaud him.