An important thing to point out here is that this is not a rumor, it’s pure speculation on Heyman’s part. Still I thought it was interesting to talk about.
We heard the rumors about Damon already and it appears the Yankees won’t go that way. They are looking for a right handed hitting outfielder that they can use contrasting to their lefties Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. Damon is looking for a place where he can get regular playing time and it doesn’t look like the Yankees can provide much time for him with their outfield and DH spots filled.
No, Damon might not be a good fit, but Jones could be. Jones, 33 until April 23, is clearly not the player he once was. He’s slower, not as good defensively, and his offensive numbers are down across the board. But as a bench option he’s actually quite attractive.
Over the past four years Jones has had a terribly low batting average, .212, but he does still have patience at the plate and a bit of pop in his bat. His slugging percentage of .412 during that time is poor, but it is due mostly to an extremely bad 2008 season where it dropped to .249. Since then he’s had SLG numbers of .459 and .486 last year. Realistically it isn’t out of whack to expect Jones to put up an OPS+ of around 100-110 next season.
Also, while his defense has slipped that’s mostly because he was one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Today he is capable of playing all three outfield positions at about league average. Meaning he wouldn’t be a liability defensively no matter whom he was spelling on a particular day.
Most importantly this right handed bat crushes lefties. Last season he hit .256 with a .931 OPS against lefties. Even in his truly pathetic season of 2008 Jones still had an OPS about 200 points better against lefties than righties.
Because of the fact that his bat is not as pathetic as his average, he provides decent defense at all outfield positions, and his splits against lefties make Jones one of the ideal fourth outfield candidates.
What do you think? Would you like to see Jones coming off the bench for the 2011 Yankees or should they be considering other options?