Andruw Jones and Atlanta Braves: What If?

Kevin MarkumCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 08:  Andruw Jones #25 of the Texas Rangers waits on deck against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 8, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  Jones hit three home runs in the game as the Rangers won 8-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

What are the facts?

The Braves are a .500 baseball team with a 53-53 record.  They are sitting in third place in the NL East behind the Philadelphia Phillies and the Florida Marlins.

Pitching wise, it is hard to top the Braves' 2009 staff.  Every guy on the rotation could be an ace on other teams except for Kenshin Kawakami, who is essentially a rookie when it comes to American baseball.

The Braves staff has a 3.80 ERA.  However, their starters are devastating.

Of the five guys in the current rotation (Lowe, Jurrjens, Hanson, Kawakami, Vazquez), they have combined for a 38-33 record even with a 5-9 record by Kawakami.  The "big five" have combined for a 3.54 ERA this season.

Not to mention the real team ace, Tim Hudson, is looking to return in late August.

Given the team's strong pitching, they should no doubt be leading the NL East in the standings and looking forward to an October in the playoffs.

However, the Braves are struggling to secure a wild-card spot and at this point are looking to a long offseason full of regrets.

One of those regrets: "What if the Atlanta Braves had Andruw Jones?"

This was a real possibility this offseason.  Andruw wanted to come back to the Braves, but the Braves didn't want him back.

Yes, he was awful in 2008...really awful.  He batted .158 with three homers in an injury-shortened season.  Awful.

However, this is the guy that once hit 51 homers in 2005 and hit .303 in 2000.

The guy has shown he can hit...not to mention his hall-of-fame ability with the glove that you really can't measure with a statistic.

Yes, 2009 isn't great.  He's only hitting .231.  However, he's a part-time player who has hit 17 homers in 2009.

Maybe he wouldn't make an impact.  Maybe he'd just be another Jeff Francoeur.  However, was he not worth a gamble with a major league contract at the minimum for which he could have been acquired?

Guess what? Those 17 homers would lead the Braves in 2009.  He's also contributed 37 RBI in only 208 ABs.  Also, with RISP and two outs, he is hitting .364.

Should we have picked him up this offseason.  I won't say yes or's just fun to say what if?

You be the judge.