Considering the diminished skills of Andruw Jones during the outfielder’s final season in Atlanta, wouldn’t a $36 million + two year guaranteed deal to play for the Dodgers be seen as a massive vote of confidence? Not in Jones’ eyes, as the current Texas Ranger tells the LA Times’ Dylan Hernandez he was treated shabbily by the Dodgers’ parking lot attendant owner.
“He wasn’t standing behind me, I think,” Jones said, adding that if McCourt had shown him more respect, “I almost definitely would be part of the L.A. Dodgers right now.”
Jones’ season with the Dodgers was an unmitigated disappointment, as he reported to camp overweight for the first year of his two-year, $36.2-million contract. He batted.158 with three home runs and 14 runs batted in and was granted his release over the winter by agreeing to defer a significant portion of the $22 million remaining on his deal.
“As things were going along, I didn’t think I was in their plans,” Jones said. “I had to make a decision and move on. “I know they had Matt Kemp, who was going to play center field all the time, so I didn’t feel like I was in their plans.”
Jones said he started to get the sense that he was on his way out of Los Angeles when he met with McCourt before undergoing knee surgery last May. “It was disrespect,” Jones said of the way McCourt spoke to him. Jones said he was upset when his agent, Scott Boras, told him in the off-season that McCourt was looking into ways to void his contract. While acknowledging that McCourt paid him a hefty salary, Jones said the owner had no right to complain about a deal that was mutually agreed upon.
“I got paid that money because that was my value,” Jones said, pointing to the numbers he posted in 12 seasons with the Atlanta Braves. “I know it’s his money but sometimes they need to stay away from what’s going on in the field. He never played baseball before. He might have a sense of it from running the team but he can’t be too involved like that.”
Jones had the night off Friday as Vincente Padilla, Jason Jennings and Jason Grilli combined on an 8-hit shutout of L.A. The 5-time All-Star deserves credit for resurrecting his career in Arlington, but perhaps even greater recognition for being the first person in recent memory to generate sympathy for Frank McCourt. And who knows how the 2008 season might’ve turned out had Jones even slightly resembled his younger incarnation? With a semi-productive Jones hitting in the heart of the Dodger batting order, there’s a chance the club might’ve been slightly less eager to take on Manny Ramirez’ remaining salary last summer.