I like this deal quite a bit — as we’ve discussed several times, though Jones has started out on fire in each of the last two seasons before tailing off, he can still rake against lefties (.402 wOBA last season, albeit in only 102 PAs), and as a fourth outfielder that’s probably what he’ll primarily be called on to do. Given that Marcus Thames was unlikely to repeat his 2010, I like Jones’ chances of filling the Thames role in 2011.
SG has Jones projected as a .342 wOBA hitter against lefties, which’ll do just fine for your fourth outfielder, and has the team offense at .360 with Jones in the lineup against lefties, Brett Gardner in center and Curtis Granderson on the bench. However, if Grandy shows that the progress he made against lefties at the end of the season was indeed real, I might consider benching Gardner in favor of Granderson from time to time.
For what it’s worth, SG’s full-season projection for Jones is a .326 wOBA in 386 PAs, James has Jones as a .339 wOBA hitter in 353 PAs (a significant drop from 2010′s .364 with Chicago), and Oliver sees a .327 wOBA in 394 PAs. While these aren’t incredibly inspiring numbers, it’s still a vast upgrade over anything the Yankees got from their pitiful bench last year, and is a way more intriguing signing than, say, Randy Winn, who was destined to fail before spring training even began.
CAIRO has Jones projected as a 1.0 WAR player. With the going rate of roughly $5 million per win this offseason, if Jones can produce a Thamesian 0.9 bWAR or higher — and given Jones’ clearly superior fielding skills, this seems likely — this should end up being a relative bargain for the Yankees.
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