Andruw Jones enjoyed a successful 16-year career in the major leagues, but it appears that he will be taking his game elsewhere next season.
ESPN Stats & Info had the news, along with an interesting tidbit regarding his career:
Andruw Jones: reportedly signs to play in Japan in 2013. He leaves MLB tied with Juan Gonzalez for 40th in career HR with 434— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 8, 2012
Sports Illustrated (via Nikkan Sports) announced that the team Jones will be joining is the Rakuten Golden Eagles. SI's report also mentions that "Nikkan Sports estimates the deal is worth approximately $3.5 million including signing bonus, base salary and performance bonuses."
With the New York Yankees last season, Jones hit just .197 with 14 home runs and 34 RBI. He provided some power off the bench, and in limited starting duties, but that was all he could muster in 94 games played.
That's way down from his .254 career average, though. As ESPN Stats & Info mentions, he's shown his home-run ability throughout his career and also has 1,289 career RBI.
The 35-year-old Jones has won 10 Gold Gloves in his major-league career. Even as a rookie with the Atlanta Braves in 1996, his potential was obvious.
The Japanese League should still be a challenge for Jones, and it's understandable that he would choose to take his career in that direction. At his age, it's hard to tell whether any major-league teams would've offered him a deal.
Because of his reputation, Jones should be very popular in Japan. He has a big personality and still has a flair for the big play.
Jones played with five major-league teams during his career. He made his mark as an Atlanta Braves center fielder, but he managed to contribute, in some way, wherever he went.