The Pittsburgh Pirates designated 1B/OF Garrett Jones for assignment on Monday morning to make room for minor league outfielder Jaff Decker, according to CBS Sports.
Jones, 32, should be in high demand this winter. Despite hitting .233/.289/.419 in 2013, the left-handed power hitter is only one year removed from an impressive .274/.317/.516 line that was a staple in the middle of Pittsburgh’s lineup. The veteran has hit no less than 15 home runs in each of his six full seasons with the Pirates and with power coming at a hefty price this offseason, he should have plenty of opportunities to latch on.
The New York Mets are looking to add power to their 2014 arsenal and have already played their first hand on the low-risk, high-reward Chris Young. While fans may bemoan the prospect of too many of these players, Jones falls into a different mold. While his defense is far from savory in the outfield, FanGraphs believes he’s at least close to league average at first base. If Jones were to serve in a platoon at the position -an ideal role for the player considering his career .193/.234/.344 clip against lefties- he could prove to be of significant value. He has a longer track record of success than both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda and would likely allow the club to deal one or both of their first base options this offseason.
Jones was set to earn roughly $5.3M through arbitration, but could earn more in free agency. Considering Chris Young received a one-year, $7.5M commitment from the club following two consecutive down years, Jones could likely earn a similar amount despite poor defense.
Despite his upside, it doesn’t make much sense for the Mets to chase Jones. His outfield defense will only worsen at Citi Field and both Davis and Duda will be cheaper options with roughly the same offensive upside. However, if the Mets were to move one or both of their primary internal options, Jones would be solid insurance for a club starved for power.
If Jones were to fit in New York, he’d likely be better served in the Bronx.
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