Garrett Jones has led the Pittsburgh Pirates in home runs two of the last three seasons, yet he still battles for a position.
It is puzzling to me why the Pirates continue to overlook the asset that Jones is to this club. Not only has he been a power supply, but he has played well both in right field and first base. For his career, he has committed only 13 errors in 184 games at first base (a .992 fielding percentage) and four errors in 178 games in right (a .988 fielding percentage).
OK, these are not Gold Glove numbers, but they are not poor either. So, defensively, he has demonstrated that he can get the job done, at least well enough to justify getting his bat into the lineup.
Granted, he has a difficult time batting against left-handed pitching. However, even with that handicap, in 388 games with Pittsburgh, he has posted the following offensive numbers.
Batting Average: .260
Stolen Bases: 23
Slugging Percentage: .468
While you would not consider him a five-tool player, he does have to tools to a decent first baseman or right fielder. The Pirates just need to give him the opportunity.
With Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Alex Presley, the outfield appears to be set, so that leaves first base as the spot for Jones.
I realize that the Pirates have offered Derrek Lee arbitration, but indications are that Lee will decline the offer. That leaves basically Casey Kotchman and Carlos Pena as the available first baseman, and although they might be a slight upgrade, I believe the Pirates would be wise spending the money on other improvements.
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