December 1st is the deadline for teams to offer contracts to former players who became free agents. One more day for Andruw to follow in the footsteps of A-Rod and Kenny Rogers and turn away from Scott Boras, come to the doorstep of the Braves front office and ask for a deeply discounted one year contract.
We still have enough room under our current self-imposed salary restrictions to sign AJ to a respectable $8 to $10 million contract. Would Andruw eat his pride? Would Andruw wise up and realize that he's not going to get the long term contract Boras thinks he can get in this year's market, which is flooded with other, more attractive centerfielders. He's not going to get as much as he thinks he will after the year he had at the plate.
His best bet is to take less money to come back to Atlanta. Yes, I know the team has said they don't want him back, but if he comes to them with a discounted one-year offer, do you think they're going to say no to his defense and his offensive "potential?" It's a long-shot, but it's a scenario in which the Braves may welcome Andruw back into their good graces.
I'm a big fan of trends when it comes to handing out big contracts, and the trends for AJ lately are not good. When you sign a guy to a $15 to $20 million salary you expect both offensive and defensive production above league norms. My knock on AJ is not his defense, but his hitting, which is heading in the wrong direction.
Year / SLG / OPS
2005 / .575 / .922
2006 / .531 / .894
2007 / .413 / .724
Career / .497 / .839
2005 was the 51 homers, and ever since then it's been down hill, but will it keep going down hill? He may bounce back next year - he's a professional after all, so he should bounce back - but will he bounce back to his 2005 form, or just his career average form. That's the multi-million dollar question. The question any longterm suitor may want to know before they hand out the big bucks.
In all likelihood this will be the last day for Andruw Jones to remain an Atlanta Brave. It's been a good run and we will miss him, but we won't miss him as much as we think when the era of Jordan Schafer begins. Still, the power may remain in the hands of AJ to postpone his exit from Atlanta - the next 24 hours will tell, but they will probably be a letdown.