MLB Free Agency: 5 Reasons Andruw Jones Is Important to the New York Yankees
Jones had a solid year off the bench for the Bombers in 2011, hitting 13 home runs and 33 RBI in 190 at-bats.
It might be one of the most underrated signings this offseason for New York (although there isn't much competition) and here's why.
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Alex Rodriguez's injuries alone have been enough cause for concern in New York the past few seasons, so having Jones as a backup on this team in case a major offensive piece gets hurt is vital for the Yanks.
I already mentioned the 13 home runs and 33 RBI Jones had last season, which was done in very limited time at the plate. If given more opportunities, Jones could still put up numbers comparable to that of most starting outfielders in the MLB.
He would be the safeguard in the event that one of the Bombers' major offensive contributors goes down to injury. It's certainly a great insurance policy to have a starting-caliber hitter in Jones sitting on your bench.
Good Situational Hitter
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One of the most underrated aspects of Jones' season in 2011 was his ability to hit in the clutch.
With runners in scoring position, he hit .349 (15-for-43) with one home run and 18 RBI. In the same circumstance but with two outs, Jones was even better, hitting .429 (9-for-21) with 11 RBI.
It's no secret the Bombers needed situational hitting in the playoffs and might have overlooked Jones as one of their more successful hitters in those clutch moments during the season.
Good in the Clubhouse
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From all indications, Jones has been considered a good guy to have on the bench since he's joined the Yankees in 2011.
It's never a bad thing to have a positive influence in the clubhouse who can keep things loose like Jones has been known to. Not to mention, the Yanks have tons of young talent that could get great advice from a guy with the experience that Jones has.
Perfect Complement to Brett Gardner
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It might be nice to have a speedster like Brett Gardner in your lineup if you're the Yankees, but his terrible .233 average against lefties is a cause for concern.
Well, have no fear. Jones is the perfect platooning complement to Gardner, hitting .286 against lefties in 2011.
Also, Gardner is a very streaky hitter and it's important to have a guy like Jones on the bench who can more than fill in for Gardner when he gets into one of his slumps.
Jones Wants to Be Here
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It's not often you hear a guy signing with the Yankees wants to take less money, but that's exactly what Jones did in coming back to the Bronx.
According to the same source that broke the news on Jones' re-signing with the Yanks, they expressed his desire to return to New York.
"Andruw had offers of a higher base salary from some other clubs," said the source. "But he took less money to return to the Yankees. He had a good experience there last season and wanted to come back."
Any professional athlete in this day and age who is willing to take less money because of a strong desire to play for a certain team can be on my team any day of the week.
Jones certainly qualifies.