You know, it wasn't that long ago that Andruw Jones was ruling the NL East alongside his buddy Chipper Jones (no relation).
Andruw played 11 full seasons from 1997-2007 with the Braves after getting a call-up late in the 1996 for the Braves' playoff push.
In seven of those 11 full seasons, Andruw eclipsed the 30-plus home run mark. Once he hit 41 and another time 51. Andruw was, no doubt, a slugger.
He has a golden bat to go along with his 10 Gold Gloves in center field as well. He has logged 16,215.1 innings in the outfield and recorded 48 errors to his 120 outfield assists. People may forget his bat, but history will remember his defensive presence.
Now, Andruw is in his 30s and is older, slower and fatter.
Being a lifelong Braves fan, an Andruw return would be intriguing for me.
Since leaving the Braves, Jones has played for the Dodgers, Rangers and White Sox. With these clubs he has a batting average of .204 and only 39 home runs in three seasons. What happened?
In 2010, Andruw Jones began to show life again. He went .230 with 19 homers in only 328 at-bats. He also had a reasonable .341 OBP as a result of 45 BBs.
Here is the thing: Atlanta Braves fans can do something other teams can't. We can look past 2008 to 2010 and see his career with the Braves as evidence of his potential to still be a force to be reckoned with.
Andruw would be a big help in a Braves offense that suffered at the center field position in 2010. Melky Cabrera and Nate McLouth likely could have been one of the worst duos to man center in MLB in 2010. Andruw certainly couldn't be much worse.
Andruw could be had for cheap. Likely between $1 million to $3 million in 2011 would secure his services.
While he has lost a step, he can still play every outfield position. He is no Gold Glove-winner anymore, but he is a better option than some.
If the Braves signed Andruw, I predict this would be the result:
350 AB, 17 HR, .254 BA, 48 RBI and a .344 OBP.
Not great, but you could do worse for a fourth outfielder. If he starts regularly, you could see even better numbers.
I'd much prefer Scott Podsednik, as mentioned in another article, but Andruw would be a nice story and an investment that could reap big rewards if everything goes correctly.
Come on, Frank Wren—bring Andruw home to Atlanta.