I still haven’t quite gotten worked up enough to address the season of Carlos Quentin yet. That’ll require a heck of a lot of mental preparation. It’ll take some Dunkin’ Donuts brand grounds in the coffee machine, a DVD of Evolution in Xbox (it makes me angry because it should have been a better movie), and a really big needle to inject the pure adrenaline into my neck.
Instead let’s focus on a man who has gone his entire natural life without the benefit of adrenaline at any point in his existence, Andruw Jones.
Stat line: .230 BA, .341 OBP, .486 SLG, .827 OPS, 12 2B, 19 HR, 48 RBI, 45 BB, 73 SO, 9 SB, .364 wOBA, 0.7 UZR, 1.8 WAR
What did we expect?: Way, way too much.
I’m going to put my entire season preview capsule for Jones here, because it was entirely crazy.
“I like Andruw Jones for this year and this year only. Two
straight crappy seasons, two straight injury shortened seasons, two
straight seasons of fat jokes, AND the fact that he’s been forced to
settle for a one-year, low-paying deal. When will Andruw Jones ever be
this motivated ever again in life? Hell, he’s being forced to play for
the White Sox for crying out loud. If he has another single half-decent
year in him, this will be it. His back is against the wall. A guy who
never took his fitness seriously even in his prime has come to camp 20
pounds lighter. This has all the earmarks of a comeback season. I
understand we can’t in good conscience give prime playing time off the
bat to a guy who hasn’t sniffed .260 in three years, but once he gets
hot we should ride him till his knees explode.”
Yes, I was high on Tylenol 3 after surgery when I wrote this. Yes, it was the first blog post I had ever written (I’ve long since passed the 300 entry mark now), and yes, I had seen a baseball game player after year 2006 when I wrote it.
Basically, I still thought Andruw Jones capable of being Andruw Jones!!!! provided he stayed healthy and didn’t participate in any ravioli eating contests. I thought his 2010 resurgence campaign would result in a happy situation where Jones was the full-time RF, Quentin was the full-time DH, and Mark Kotsay was shipped to Malaysia to form and coach his very own WBC team. And I was pretty much wrong.
The result: OR WAS I?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Andruw Jones waged the ultimate battle between the eye test and the stat line in 2010, and who’s to say who won in the end. The stat line will tell you that batting average be damned, Andruw showed his best power in years, that the highest walk-rate of his career had him on the basepaths more often than local heartthrob Alex Rios, and that he played perfectly average defense. And perfectly average is a lot better than the alternative. His OPS in 2010? .001 higher than his career average. Hooooo!
The eye test will tell you that Andruw’s power numbers are high because he swings like he’s frantically trying to signal a rescue helicopter to get out of this 2nd tier TV market, it will tell you that he couldn’t be called upon to hit a ground ball to the right side to move the runner over to 3rd any more than he could be called upon to moonlight as an obstetrician, and it will tell you that he plays good defense overall, but was at the center of the season-unraveling loss to Detroit, and more than anything, that he strikes out constantly.
The stat line will also tell you that he strikes out constantly.
As is always the case when you’re trying not to piss off or patronize your readers, both camps were right. Andruw’s all-or-nothing approach made him far too variable in his production to be an everyday player, but his combination of pop and ability to playing any outfield position with an endearing level of casualty made him a perfect 4th outfielder.
Just as long as you forget that day that he had two brainfarts in CF against Detroit in one inning and the season exploded.
Love him or leave him?: at 1.8 WAR, Andruw is worth in pure sabermetric a-win-over-replacement-is-worth-at-least-$4-million-if-not-more, $6-$7 million a season for his next contract. Except, no one is going to pay their fourth outfielder much more than $2 million, and that’s only if they think the world of him. The whole world.
Andruw Jones did just dandy in his role in 2010, but probably not enough to make him a better or cheaper option for the Sox than Alejandro De Aza, unless he takes something similar to the 1 year/$500K deal he took this year and makes some ultra-sincere petition to stay and help the team win it all in 2011.
Even then, they’ll probably go with De Aza. Teams tend not to overthink the fourth outfielder spot..