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Friday, December 07, 2012

Perry: Report: Andruw Jones headed to Japan

Andruw Jones has signed a one-year contract worth roughly $3.5 million to play in Japan next season, reports Nikkan Sports (via NPBTracker.com). According to the report, the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League have inked Jones…

The 35-year-old Jones has to his credit 434 career home runs and one of the best defensive peaks ever at his position, so he’ll one day be in the Hall-of-Fame discussion (even if he’s something of a long shot to make it)...

If nothing else, he’s one of the biggest names ever to cross the Pacific and play in NPB.

The District Attorney Posted: December 07, 2012 at 08:03 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: andruw jones, free agency, international, japan

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   1. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 07, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4319767)
If he ends his career in Japan and doesn't come back to MLB, does his time there count towards his HoF eligibility?
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 07, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4319776)
If that's as far away from Yankee Stadium as it's possible to get, then hooray.
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 07, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4319806)
Andruw knows that conditioning is a big deal in Japan, right?
   4. asinwreck Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4319810)
   5. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4319811)
First the yankees get a player taken by Pittsburgh. Hell, I've heard of Pittsburgh. They have a hockey team, right? But . . Rakuten?!
   6. Gamingboy Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4319818)
Rakuten is based out of Sendai, although they played a lot of their games last season in Kobe because of the Earthquake/Tsunami.

Andruw knows that conditioning is a big deal in Japan, right?

Heh. The poor guy won't know what hits him.
   7. Lassus Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM (#4319820)
If he ends his career in Japan and doesn't come back to MLB, does his time there count towards his HoF eligibility?

Ask Ray.
   8. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4319821)
Andruw smartly waited to make this move until Japan failed in its bid to ease whaling restrictions.
   9. rlc Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4319822)
surely you didn’t expect him to oppose ham?


He fought the ham and the ham lost. Repeatedly.
   10. bond1 Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4319823)
Geez, yesterday's 7.3 earthquake was epicentered just off the coast of Sendai - foreign culture, language barrier, earthquakes, radiation.
At least they got burgers and pizza in Japan...
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4319827)
If nothing else, he'll have one of the biggest names asses ever to cross the Pacific and play in NPB.
   12. Tuque Posted: December 08, 2012 at 01:21 AM (#4319836)
This thread is making me so glad BBTF didn't exist when Cecil Fielder went to Japan.
   13. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:08 AM (#4319849)
Reggie Smith was a pretty big name too. It would be funny if Andruw came back to the US in 2 years all fit and flexible.
   14. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:25 AM (#4319852)
I can think of two US Hall of Famers who played in Japan, Goose Gossage and Larry Doby.
   15. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:10 AM (#4319853)
Andruw Jones will be retiring right about the point where defensive statistics will probably be gaining modest traction in the HoF electorate. And if his defensive numbers hold up, he's going to have an interesting candidacy. I think he'll stick around on the ballot for a long time, and his vote total will improve over time, but I doubt he'll make it in.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 04:50 AM (#4319858)
I think Andruw will make it in the HoF ... although the cluster**** ballot might mess with that. You don't need fancy stats of course, he won 10 straight GG. That nearly makes him the Ozzie/Brooks/Maz of CF. There are obvious drawbacks -- Mays with 12, Griffey with 10 and Andruw having become something of a joke at the end -- but I think he'd make it.

Now, if Andruw never plays in the US again, does the Japan time count with regard to his 5-year wait? What about minor-league time?
   17. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: December 08, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4319862)
Hell, I've heard of Pittsburgh. They have a hockey team, right?

Not this year.
   18. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 08, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4319865)

Report: Andruw Jones headed to Japan


The headline makes is sound like a Godzilla invasion. I can almost hear the excited Japanese newscaster.
   19. Suff Posted: December 08, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4319872)
and Andruw having become something of a joke at the end


That, I think, has traditionally been a HUGE factor in people not getting into the HOF.

Most players don't finish particularly strong, but if they have their "moment" where they reach a milestone or something, they get to go out on a good note. Guys who don't do that struggle.

People were calling Ryne Sandberg the best 2B of all time at points in his career. Although that was a pretty big overstatement, it was weird for him to have to wait as long as he did to get elected. But his retirement, un-retirement, and general fizzling out took the shine off of his career.

Gary Carter was the same way. He was a superstar, considered one of the best catchers ever as well. But he finished his career bouncing around as a backup. He took much longer than you'd expect, too.

But neither of those guys hit milestones or finished well.

That, I think, is the biggest thing that hurts the "feel" of Tim Raines for voters. He hit the ballot about the same time Jim Rice got elected on the 15th try. But Raines' last All-Star season was just one year after Rice's last All-Star season. He hit the ballot at the same time as stars from the 90s when he was a star of the early-to-mid-80s. He was solid (better than perceived, probably) from 1988 to 1998 or so, but was never a "star" again. All of the shine was off his career by the time he finally stopped bouncing around as a bench player around 2001, except in the eyes of those who appreciated him most.

And Andruw Jones was never the star Raines was. Their career MVP shares are about the same, but Jones' mostly tied up in his 2nd-place finish in 2005. Raines was in more All-Star Games and started 2. Jones never started an All-Star Game. Jones was a low-average guy who wasn't a huge OBP guy, either. He went through long stretches, even when he was good, where it seemed any breaking ball would get him out. He had lots of really bad postseason performances in the middle of his career. He was generally the second-best "Jones" on his team.

So, relative to Raines, I don't think he had as much "shine" to begin with. Add in the embarrassing and abrupt crash in his career, I think he will start out really low in his vote totals (under 20%) and will need a lot of advocacy to get people to really consider him.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4319877)
I think Andruw will make it in the HoF ... although the cluster**** ballot might mess with that. You don't need fancy stats of course, he won 10 straight GG. That nearly makes him the Ozzie/Brooks/Maz of CF. There are obvious drawbacks -- Mays with 12, Griffey with 10 and Andruw having become something of a joke at the end -- but I think he'd make it.

Not a chance. Ozzie and Brooks were infielders who not only seemed to define their positions, but their positions were much easier to appreciate than those of a centerfielder whose primary skill was to make hard plays look easy. That's not a knock on that skill, only a notation that it doesn't lend itself to repeated highlight reels.

Then, lets's face it, there's no narrative for Jones as there was for Ozzie and Brooks. His team flopped in the only two World Series he ever played in, and hitting two home runs in a 12 to 1 game as a 19 year old isn't anything more than statistical footnote.

He's also got the nonchalant rep that contrasts 180 degrees with the enthusiasm that Ozzie and Brooks showed on the field. Those two were idolized for reasons that went beyond their stats. Jones has nothing much going for him beyond fielding numbers that few people appreciate, and a good but nowhere near HOF-level set of offensive numbers. The only chance he's got would be if somehow the VC got dominated by sabermetricians in a hypothetical future era where advanced defensive metrics ruled the day. Other than that, he doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell.

Yes, there's Maz, but (a) Maz was a middle infielder with a king-sized rep as "the best defensive second baseman ever"; (b) Maz had a signature moment second only to Bobby Thomson, whereas Jones has none; (c) Maz had a large and vocal fan base who lobbied for him tirelessly; and (d) It still took him 34 years to get in. Jones has no visible fan base, and little hope of obtaining any. Who's going to be lobbying for him 20 or 25 years from now, when he's getting ready to drop off the ballot? How can anyone possibly imagine that 75% of the writers would ever vote for him?

I'll let others try to construct a Hall of Merit argument for Jones, but they're wasting their time talking about Jones and the Hall of Fame.

   21. Scott Lange Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4319886)
Maz had a signature moment second only to Bobby Thomson, whereas Jones has none


Andruw did have two homers in his first World Series game, in Yankee Stadium, at age 19. That's something.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4319890)
Now, if Andruw never plays in the US again, does the Japan time count with regard to his 5-year wait? What about minor-league time?


Both Reggie Smith and Larry Parrish finished their careers in Japan, though their Hall of Fame vote took place six years (the natural waiting period) after their last MLB game. (Jesse Barfield was the most recent guy to finish up in Japan after a lengthy career in the states, though strangely he did not apppear on a Hall of Fame ballot).

I suspect the BBWAA would continue to operate this way, except in the unlikely case a guy is still active in Japan when his time comes up on the ballot. In that case, they may wait until he's officially retired.

Minor league time does not count, as Rickey had a few stints with Indy League teams after his last big league game that didn't count toward his ballot eligibility.

Oh, and while there's no way of testing this, if he does end his career there I think this move will be a disservice to Andruws' Hall of Fame chances.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4319897)
Maz had a signature moment second only to Bobby Thomson, whereas Jones has none

Andruw did have two homers in his first World Series game, in Yankee Stadium, at age 19. That's something.


Yeah, it's an interesting statistical curiosity that maybe would have gotten him Furman Bisher's vote. It's not even on the same planet with Maz or Morris or Fisk or Carter or about 500 to 1000 other World Series moments that rank above it in significance, including those of another SABR favorite who hit two home runs in his first two World Series at bats in a one run game.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4319917)
Andruw need to get in line behind Kenny Lofton. No way he deserves (or will get elected) with Kenny barely getting noticed.

I also think you have to discount Jones defensive value pretty seriously. I just flat out don't believe a stat that has him a full win per season better than Willie Mays on defense during their 10 year peaks. Personally, I knock about 8-10 WAR off Jones' total.

   25. Benji Posted: December 08, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4319968)
After they get a load of that load, the name for lazy American imports will be "Andruw" instead of "Pepitone".
   26. Dale Sams Posted: December 08, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4319983)
I'll let others try to construct a Hall of Merit argument for Jones, but they're wasting their time talking about Jones and the Hall of Fame.


All good points. I will pile on with the misperception of "Just another Latin player* who roided up and fell off a cliff"

*Yes, I know.
   27. Gamingboy Posted: December 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4319986)
Charlie "Red Devil" Manuel, who once (along with Roger Repoz) once had a bar fight with the East German Hockey Team in a Tokyo nightclub, could conceivably one day be in the HoF as a manager if he wins another WS or two. So could Davey Johnson.


And Ichiro, of course, played in Japan, and he'll get in the HoF as a player.
   28. Dale Sams Posted: December 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4320016)
But did he shoot a man, just for snoring?
   29. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4320053)
But did he shoot a man, just for snoring?

It was in Reno, and just to watch him die.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4320066)
Jones has nothing much going for him beyond fielding numbers that few people appreciate

Wrong, wrong, wrong. He has ten gold gloves. He doesn't need fancy fielding numbers, he has the old school hardware.

I also think you have to discount Jones defensive value pretty seriously. I just flat out don't believe a stat that has him a full win per season better than Willie Mays on defense during their 10 year peaks.

Skepticism is warranted but I heard several announcers, old players, etc. say he was better than Mays in real time and it was widely accepted that he was the best since Mays.

And, really Andy, you don't think Andruw has a long list of highlight reel catches? You were watching a different TBS than I was in the day. I'm happy to go on record saying the young Andruw is easily the best CF I have ever seen. He was widely considered on an HoF track through age 30 and he does finish his career with over 400 HR, 1200 runs and 1200 RBI.

It is certainly true he doesn't have any signature moments. It is true his year with the Dodgers (the only real joke part of his career) might be enough to kill him. And it's certainly true he wouldn't sail right in like Ozzie or Brooks. But the BBWAA does like to honor great defenders at defensive positions. Even Concepcion lasted all 15 years and Bob Boone lasted 5 and Andruw has much better offensive and defensive credentials. Vizquel will likely have at least a Concepcion run. (It's also true that Frank White and Paul Blair were summarily dismissed.) I am surprised he didn't make more AS games. He probably deserved to make 8-10 of them.

With crowded ballots, all bets are off -- even 5 years from now, Andruw's 60 WAR might only be good for something like 20th on the ballot.
   31. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4320104)
Skepticism is warranted but I heard several announcers, old players, etc. say he was better than Mays in real time and it was widely accepted that he was the best since Mays.


I can confirm this as a Mets fan, during Braves/Mets games Jones was regularly averred to be at least the best CF since Mays and possibly as good as Mays.
   32. Bruce Markusen Posted: December 08, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4320114)
How about Paul Blair or Devon White? Blair's career overlapped Mays' career somewhat, but he was still playing a lot of center field until about 1974 or so. White had incredible range, as much as anyone I've seen in the past 25 years.
   33. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 08, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4320116)
And, really Andy, you don't think Andruw has a long list of highlight reel catches? You were watching a different TBS than I was in the day. I'm happy to go on record saying the young Andruw is easily the best CF I have ever seen. He was widely considered on an HoF track through age 30 and he does finish his career with over 400 HR, 1200 runs and 1200 RBI.

Walt, even granting everything about Andruw's defense, how many outfielders with unremarkable offensive numbers who (a) fell off a cliff at 30, both offensively and defensively, and (b) never recovered afterwards, have ever been elected by the BBWAA on the basis of their defensive skills? The best HoF comp to Jones would probably be Richie Ashburn, with an identical 111 OPS+ and a sterling defensive reputation, who also called it quits at 35. But though Jones had far more home runs, he only led the league a total of 2 times in any offensive category, whereas Ashburn did so 14 times. There's simply no real narrative to Jones's career beyond his defense. The woods are full of players with over 400 home runs and not much of anything else. He once showed signs of promise as a baserunner, but that pretty much went away in his early 20's.

There are admittedly lesser CFers than Jones in the HoF today, but like Ashburn, it took the Veterans' Committee to get them in there. As I said, and as you seem to be tacitly admitting, that's also going to be Jones's only hope at some point in the distant future. And I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on its ever happening anytime.
   34. shoewizard Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:29 AM (#4320240)
Andruw won't get in Walt. Not a chance. But everyone here has made some excellent points. I think 19 hits on something very important that I've always believed as well. People remember the more recent past, and how you finish. Unless you have an overwhelming peak and signature moments to go with them. Andruw has neither of those things, and his decline has been long and thorough.

It's true thru age 29 or 30 he WAS on a HOF track. He ranked 7th all time in HR thru age 29, tied with Aaron at 342, and thru age 30 he still ranked 9th, (ahead of Aaron!). Coupled with his World Class defense, he was definitely on that HOF track. Get to 500 HR and have all those gold gloves and he is a lock. But that age 30 season with a .222 BA was the beginning of the end.

From that point on he has put up 2047 PA's where he hit .214/.314/.420 Over 2000 PA's !!

That is a lot of PA's and a lot of suckage for a long time. His career batting avg, never a strength to begin with, dropped from a Reggie esque .267 all the way to .252.

I just don't see any voters weighting EITHER the Gold Gloves, or his new age fielding numbers heavily enough to overcome that.
   35. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:38 AM (#4320243)
There's simply no real narrative to Jones's career beyond his defense. The woods are full of players with over 400 home runs and not much of anything else.


This is a weird thing to say, for Mrs. Lincoln and play reasons. The only major narrative to Jones' career is that he was consensus the best CF since Mays and has a legitimate argument for being the best CF of all time. Aside from that, yeah, you're right, not much narrative.
   36. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:24 AM (#4320249)
I wonder if he timed this so he'd go on the HOF ballot with Chipper. It makes a lot of sense. This way he goes onto the ballot with Chipper but he still gets to play a few more years of baseball in Japan since he apparently didn't feel ready to retire.
   37. Greg K Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:56 AM (#4320251)
It could be the money too. I have to think 3.5m beats what any MLB team was offering.
   38. ecwcat Posted: December 09, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4320262)
Andruw Jones: former future Hall of Famer, Walt.

Done at age 30, no counting numbers, going on 7 straight years of suckitude, dude.

Nice overpaid contract with LA.

A backup in the media capital of the universe.

I knew SOMEONE here had to take the bait.
   39. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 09, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4320264)
Jones is the best CFer I've seen.

I remember watching a game with my dad in the late 90's where a ball bounces a couple times and skips past the CFer. I say "Andruw Jones makes sure that doesn't get by him", my dad looks at me like I'm crazy and says "Andruw Jones catches that on a fly".
   40. Swedish Chef Posted: December 09, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4320265)
I knew SOMEONE here had to take the bait.

Are you saying he's not a worthy Hall of Famer because shallow and ignorant people will deem him not to be one? All the things you cited are reasons why he won't go in, not reasons why he shouldn't go in.
   41. alkeiper Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4320296)
Beyond the fielding statistics, the Atlanta Braves in Jones' best years had a reputation of overachieving pitchers. By that I mean pitchers (Horacio Ramirez, Jaret Wright, Damian Moss) who were far better with the Braves than any other club. I thought that the Braves had an all-time great center fielder was more than just a coincidence.

Jones really has a Hall of Fame peak. But falling off a cliff so early as many others have pointed out will really hurt his candidacy.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4320304)
There's simply no real narrative to Jones's career beyond his defense. The woods are full of players with over 400 home runs and not much of anything else.

This is a weird thing to say, for Mrs. Lincoln and play reasons. The only major narrative to Jones' career is that he was consensus the best CF since Mays and has a legitimate argument for being the best CF of all time. Aside from that, yeah, you're right, not much narrative.


Mazeroski had an even longer and more consensual reputation as the best defensive second baseman of all time, and it still took him 34 years and a lot of love and lobbying to get into the Hall. And sorry, but when you fall off a cliff as an outfielder at the age of 30, both at the plate and in the field, you'd better put up better offensive numbers before that than Jones did (career 111 OPS+), no matter how good your defensive reputation. He's an interesting Hall of Merit case, but his HoF chances are close to zero.
   43. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4320308)
A backup in the media capital of the universe.


An ineffective backup. This Yankees team that couldn't hit in the playoffs, that joylessly took turns going up to the plate, swinging three times, and sitting back down; this Yankees team decided not to put him on the postseason roster. They put half a Brett Gardner on (and gave him significant ABs!). He utterly failed in New York, and in a way that was so obvious to everyone that Yankee management didn't see much upside into letting him hit in October.
   44. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4320313)
He utterly failed in New York, and in a way that was so obvious to everyone that Yankee management didn't see much upside into letting him hit in October.


The 126 OPS+ in 2011 was just an illusion or didn't count or what?

Yankees fans really do exemplify "what have you done for me lately", don't they?
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4320317)
I can confirm this as a Mets fan, during Braves/Mets games Jones was regularly averred to be at least the best CF since Mays and possibly as good as Mays.

And yet the stats show him to be a full win better on defense, per season, than Mays.

No question that he was fantastic in CF; maybe he was as good as Mays. But that's the limit of what I'm willing to grant him.

As goods as Mays knocks 10 WAR off his career.

The other thing that makes me wonder about Jones is that Willie Mays was still an average to slightly below avg. CF into his early 40's. Jones became a shitty LF at 32. That doesn't seem consistent with a "best of all time" CF. Basically, as soon as Jones left Atl, his defensive numbers cratered (+19 at 31, -6 at 32).

Maybe it was something in Atl (positioning, pitching staff, etc. ) that was creating the huge D numbers?



   46. bobm Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4320329)
I'm happy to go on record saying the young Andruw is easily the best CF I have ever seen. He was widely considered on an HoF track through age 30 and he does finish his career with over 400 HR, 1200 runs and 1200 RBI.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, Played 50% of games at CF, (requiring HR>=400, R>=1200 and RBI>=1200), sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

                                                                                                       
Rk          Player WAR/pos  HR    R  RBI From   To   Age    G    PA    AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS       Pos
1      Willie Mays   150.8 660 2062 1903 1951 1973 20-42 2992 12496 10881 .302 .384 .557 .941  *8/39675
2    Mickey Mantle   105.5 536 1676 1509 1951 1968 19-36 2401  9907  8102 .298 .421 .557 .977 *8397/645
3      Ken Griffey    79.2 630 1662 1836 1989 2010 19-40 2671 11304  9801 .284 .370 .538 .907   *89D/73
4      Duke Snider    63.1 407 1259 1333 1947 1964 20-37 2143  8237  7161 .295 .380 .540 .919     *89/7
5     Andruw Jones    59.5 434 1204 1289 1996 2012 19-35 2196  8664  7599 .254 .337 .486 .823   *897D/3
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4320339)

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, Played 50% of games at CF, (requiring HR>=400, R>=1200 and RBI>=1200), sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

Nice chart, but with that 400 home run requirement you eliminate a few minor centerfielders named Speaker (127.8 WAR), Cobb (144.9) and Dimaggio (75.1, with 3 prime years missed during WWII).
   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4320341)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, Played 50% of games at CF, (requiring HR>=400, R>=1200 and RBI>=1200), sorted by greatest WAR Position Players


If you're going to rank by WAR, why limit by HR, R and RBI? WAR is meant to be all inclusive.

If you just go by WAR, 50% of games at CF, you also have Lofton, Beltran and Ashburn ahead of Jones.

Jones is 11th, only slightly ahead of Jim Edmonds and Willie Davis.

I'd elect all of Lofton, Beltran and Edmonds before I considered Andruw Jones.
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4320344)
I find it hard to conceive that someone who became useless without any apparent injury before turning 31, then became a pretty good part-time player, could be a Hall of Famer. But I guess his case isn't that much worse than Tim Raines's. During his HOF-worthy period he played 11 straight years of more than 150 games. Tim Raines only did that for 5 years.
   50. Bob T Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4320355)
Speaking as an Angeleno who had to endure Andruw Jones in 2008 with the Dodgers, I would only let him into Cooperstown if he bought a ticket and also promised to stay in upstate New York working at quaint B&B.
   51. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:53 AM (#4320706)
The other thing that makes me wonder about Jones is that Willie Mays was still an average to slightly below avg. CF into his early 40's. Jones became a shitty LF at 32. That doesn't seem consistent with a "best of all time" CF. Basically, as soon as Jones left Atl, his defensive numbers cratered (+19 at 31, -6 at 32).

Maybe it was something in Atl (positioning, pitching staff, etc. ) that was creating the huge D numbers?


Andruw had intermittent knee problems (of the nagging sort, not the crippling sort) during his later years with Atlanta. Combine that with the extra heft he was carrying around, and it isn't particularly perplexing what happened. His first year in LA, he had to have knee surgery less than 2 months into the season.
   52. Tippecanoe Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4320833)
And yet the stats show him to be a full win better on defense, per season, than Mays.


One theory on this, which I will not attempt to prove, is that Glavine and especially Maddux were unusually consistent and effective in implementing a defensive game plan. In the late 90's, Jones was constantly making perfect reads (as if he knew what was coming) then swooping in to grab loopers, pop-ups and liners. Those pitchers plus that fielder seemed to be working together to get outs.

In other words, Jones may not have been more skilled than Mays as an outfielder, but his team really did derive more value from his excellence.
   53. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4320844)
Andruw was a useful piece his first season in New York, but--and I don't know if this is because he was playing more than expected or what--by the All-Star break this past season he played like he was wearing concrete spikes.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4320845)
One theory on this, which I will not attempt to prove, is that Glavine and especially Maddux were unusually consistent and effective in implementing a defensive game plan. In the late 90's, Jones was constantly making perfect reads (as if he knew what was coming) then swooping in to grab loopers, pop-ups and liners. Those pitchers plus that fielder seemed to be working together to get outs.

In other words, Jones may not have been more skilled than Mays as an outfielder, but his team really did derive more value from his excellence.


If true, much of that value belongs to the pitchers.
   55. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4321105)
If true, much of that value belongs to the pitchers.


Not if the plan only worked with Andruw. His reads were preternatural.

I think if Andruw was getting some magic Maddux/Glavine/Cox-positioning bonus, you would have seen something similar with Grissom, who was the CF in 1995 and 1996. He's the only other CF to play behind both those guys for multiple full seasons. But from 1992-1998, Grissom's lowest two RField scores are from those two years in ATL.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4321113)
Not if the plan only worked with Andruw. His reads were preternatural.

it would work with Mays, or Devon White, or Gary Pettis? I find that hard to believe.
   57. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4321135)
Maybe. But regardless, I don't think Maddux and Glavine were performing some magic that made him look better. I think he was just fantastic about reading the ball off the bat (and sometimes just off where the catcher set up).

You seem to be working off the first principle that he can't possibly be the best ever, and then coming up with theories to support it. Maybe you should just stick with the simplest explanation: the guy who many people thought was the greatest CF of all time and whose stats agree was in fact probably just that.

The other point I would make is that you aren't comparing like quantities when you look at Mays' and Jones' fielding numbers. They aren't calculated the same way. The newer numbers are sounder, and the older ones involve more estimation. I wouldn't doubt for a minute that Mays' true peaks are being obscured. So if Jones being better than Mays bothers you, it probably makes more sense to quibble with the latter's numbers.
   58. karlmagnus Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4321144)
If his reads were preternaturally good, then he should still have been an excellent CF when old and fat. Preternaturally good reads enable you to waddle effectively to where the ball is; only the most difficult chances should be missed.

I don't believe he was better than Mays; we do know that Maddox and Glavine were two of the best control pitchers of all time and Smoltz was no slouch.
   59. SoSH U at work Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4321152)
You seem to be working off the first principle that he can't possibly be the best ever, and then coming up with theories to support it. Maybe you should just stick with the simplest explanation: the guy who many people thought was the greatest CF of all time and whose stats agree was in fact probably just that.


I don't think Snapper is averse to the idea that he's the best CF ever. I think he questions the idea that peak Andruw Jones was leaps and bounds better than everyone else that ever played the position. And that's a skepticism that isn't his alone.

   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4321173)
(59) Exactly. The stats aren't saying that Jones is just better than Mays, Blair, D White, Pettis,etc. They're saying he's as far beter than them as they are above average.

That's simply not credible to me.
   61. BDC Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4321196)
Late to the thread … I ran comps for Jones, and chose two different approaches, which result in weirdly separate lists. Both are centered on Andruw in terms of OPS+ and PAs. This one is a bit more wide in terms of those values, but limited to CF, 2B, SS, and C:

Player          Rfield   PA OPS+  SB     Pos
Andruw Jones       236 8664  111 152 
*897D/3
Gary Carter        112 9019  115  39 
*29/375
Billy Herman        55 8639  112  67   
*4/53
Joe Cronin          28 8840  119  87 
*6/5347
Barry Larkin        18 9057  116 379   
*6/4D
Clyde Milan          9 8316  109 495   
*87/9
Joe Sewell          
-4 8333  108  74   *65/4
Miguel Tejada      
-47 9038  109  84  *65/D4
Ray Durham        
-102 8423  104 273   *4/D8 


And that's a list where the better fielders reach the HOF, for sure. But they're not real close to Jones as offensive players, or in career length, except for Herman. So I tried it another way, narrowing the offensive and career-length parameters but including any position:

Player           Rfield   PA OPS+  SB      Pos
Andruw Jones        236 8664  111 152  
*897D/3
Adrian Beltre       187 8697  112 115   
*5/D64
Ichiro Suzuki        96 8723  113 452   
*98/D7
Fred Tenney          84 8809  110 285 
*3/29781
Billy Herman         55 8639  112  67    
*4/53
Stuffy McInnis       31 8634  105 172  
*3/6547
Jake Daubert         23 8744  117 251       
*3
Ron Fairly           
-7 8437  117  35  *3978/D
Carlos Lee          
-18 8787  113 125    *73/D
Ruben Sierra        
-67 8782  105 142   *9D7/8
Toby Harrah         
-96 8767  114 238  *564/D9 


That's intriguing. Ichiro has an unconventional HOF case based just on his MLB years, and so does Beltre, so far; and so, of course, does Andruw. Meanwhile, you've got players as diverse as Fred Tenney (old-timey glove man at 1B) and Carlos Lee, who is an intriguingly close comp in terms of total offensive career (also a HR hitter, and, to be charitable, not the most svelte of men in his 30s, either).

IOW, after a couple seconds' work here, I got nothing except to pile on and say that the man's entire HOF case is in that gobsmackingly amazing RField column. It's just a shame, as snapper says, that Jones turned so young into something so at odds with his initial image. It's as if Nolan Ryan had turned into a slow groundball pitcher and hung around throwing late-inning forkballs in relief for a few years after 30 and then vanished.
   62. dlf Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4321242)
It's as if Nolan Ryan had turned into a slow groundball pitcher and hung around throwing late-inning forkballs in relief for a few years after 30 and then vanished.


So that is what this has to do with Frank Tanana ...
   63. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4321537)
If his reads were preternaturally good, then he should still have been an excellent CF when old and fat.


Uh, late 20s Andruw was not exactly the svelt young guy he came up as. Every single year, there were articles about his balooning ass, or how much he loved his momma's home cooking in the off-season. And he was still great. Then he got even fatter and had knee problems.

I don't think Snapper is averse to the idea that he's the best CF ever. I think he questions the idea that peak Andruw Jones was leaps and bounds better than everyone else that ever played the position. And that's a skepticism that isn't his alone.


Ok, but I don't get where that's coming from. His defensive stats don't say that he's an order of magnitude above everyone else or something crazy. His peak numbers fall right in line with other elite CFs of his era. Just look at the single season leaderboard.

(59) Exactly. The stats aren't saying that Jones is just better than Mays, Blair, D White, Pettis,etc. They're saying he's as far beter than them as they are above average.


They aren't saying that at all. His peaks are in line with other peak CFs of his era. The difference is that he was able to maintain that level for much longer and much more consistently. Both White and Jones (and Erstad and Bourn and Griffey and Puckett) have gotten into that +30 range at their best. What separates Andruw is that he was able to stay a +20 guy through his late twenties when he grew a second butt and lost a step or three, due in large part to his fantastic defensive instincts.

We don't have great defensive stats for old guys like Mays; the underlying data just isn't good enough. But that doesn't make the stats for recent guys wrong (though, of course, as with all D stats, they could be); it just means the older guys might be underrated a bit.
   64. vivaelpujols Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:39 AM (#4321582)
From that point on he has put up 2047 PA's where he hit .214/.314/.420 Over 2000 PA's !!


You realize that's not too far off the major league average, right? The batting average is deplorable, but we don't care about batting average once we know OBP and SLG (HOF voters probably do though). With the exception of the Dodgers year (which is really inexplicable) Andruw was roughly an average player overall over the last 4 years of his career. He actually hit very well with the Rangers and his first year with the Yankees.

IMO, Jones is with Beltran and Jimmy Ed. Andruw and Jimmy are practically the same player with highly regarded defense, a great peak and a swift decline. That might be the biggest thing hurting him as no voter is likely to vote in all three of those guys and there might be vote splitting. I suppose Beltran could make himself a lock with a few more good seasons and he might be able to avoid the log jam.
   65. vivaelpujols Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:45 AM (#4321583)
Andruw's at 60 bWAR - around guys like Dave Winfield, Richie Ashburn, Andre Dawson, Reggie Smith. He's at 72 fWAR, which has a higher replacement level but also rates his defense higher. Here he's about as good as Robin Yount and Ozzie Smith.

So he's definitely a solid candidate to me, ahead of many guys currently in the HOF, but obviously his odds of getting in are long.
   66. vivaelpujols Posted: December 11, 2012 at 04:50 AM (#4321584)
Maybe it was something in Atl (positioning, pitching staff, etc. ) that was creating the huge D numbers?


Or maybe it's that fat players who don't condition themselves at all suffer steep declines in defense. Does anyone have WOWY numbers for Jones? That's what we should be using for career defense anyway.

I agree that Andruw is not 10 runs per season better than Mays, but as Barnaby says I think it's much more likely the problem is with Mays' defensive numbers, not Jones'.
   67. The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:47 PM (#4347092)
Bill James mailbag today:
acknowledging that Andruw Jones was a very good center fielder and accepting that the Defensive measurements you are referencing have value, I would remain extremely skeptical of the claim that he was the greatest defensive center fielder ever or that he had twice the defensive value of Willie Mays. It would seem to me more likely than not that his defensive statistics are colored by some contextual influence that we don't understand yet, but will understand in twenty years. Thus, I would be unwilling to make a Hall of Fame argument for him based on his defensive numbers.

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