Jones is probably done as a Dodger
Andruw Jones and the Dodgers? One and done.
The Dodgers have agreed to trade or release Jones in exchange for his deferring much of the $22 million remaining on his contract, a baseball source said Friday.
The deal is expected to shave $12 million from the Dodgers’ 2009 payroll and cut Jones’ salary next season to about $5 million. If the Dodgers cannot trade him, even at that discounted salary, then Jones can ask for his release before spring training, the source said.
The Dodgers could apply the savings toward a new offer to Manny Ramirez, but that negotiation is independent of this deal.
The Dodgers offered Ramirez two years and $45 million in November but have since withdrawn the offer. They have resumed talks with agent Scott Boras, who also represents Jones, as well as explored outfield alternatives in Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn.
The discussions on Jones’ contract predated the resumption of the Ramirez talks, said two sources, each of whom declined to be identified since the Dodgers have not announced the restructured deal for Jones.
The revised deal frees up cash for the Dodgers while enabling Jones to play elsewhere and try to rebuild his value before free agency next year.
The National League West champions have cut their player payroll from $119 million on opening day last season to a projected $65 million next season, pending any signings.
The Dodgers signed Jones last winter to be their big bat, but he hit .158 with three home runs in 75 games. The five-time All-Star reported to camp significantly overweight, endured boos from opening day on, underwent knee surgery in May, ended the season on the bench and then asked to be traded.
However, even at his new low salary, interested teams could wait to see if the Dodgers release him instead.
The Dodgers then would owe all but the minimum $400,000 salary.