Trade Andruw? Good Luck.

Yesterday, it came out that Andruw Jones would like to be traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers. After he hit .158/.256/.249 in his first season in La-La land, the feeling is certainly mutual. His ridiculously horrible performance earned him a -1.56 WPA/LI in just 238 plate appearances, ranking 4th worst in the majors despite only playing about two months worth of baseball. It was one of the worst seasons we’ve seen in a long, long time.

However, thanks to the two year deal the Dodgers gave Jones last winter, they still owe him approximately $22 million, covering his $15 million 2009 salary and the $7 million they still owe him as part of his signing bonus. Considering how poorly he played in 2008, and the general negative feelings about his work ethic, it wouldn’t be easy to move him even if he was only owed half that amount. Finding a team that wants to take a shot on him, and is willing to pay part of his salary, is going to be a challenge.

However, the name value will probably still pique the interest of at least a few GMs. Is there anything left to be interested in? Can we chalk up his ’08 results to just a lot of bad luck?

In a word, no.

Last year, Jones significantly down on the amount of strikes he swung at (going from 71% to 62%), but despite being more selective, he actually made less contact (72% in ’07, 69% last year). That’s a bad combination – if you start letting more strikes go by, you should theoretically increase your contact rate, because you’ve hopefully reduced the amount of hard to hit pitches you’re swinging at. Jones, apparently, was staring at the ones he could hit, and still flailing miserably at the ones he couldn’t.

This resulted in a drastic jump in his strikeout rate, which ballooned to 36.4%. That’s a K rate reserved for the swing-from-the-heels slugger types, such as Ryan Howard and Jack Cust. You can survive with a 36% strikeout rate if you’re hitting the crap out of the ball when you make contact, but Jones didn’t do that either.

Hid line drive percentage was just 13.4%, and he managed only 12 extra base hit all season. His ISO of .091 would fit in well with David Eckstein’s career marks.

And, just for fun, he failed to steal a base for the first time in his career.

Add it all up, and in 2008, Jones was something like a compilation of Ryan Howard‘s contact abilities, David Eckstein‘s power, and Jack Cust‘s speed, mixed with Nomar Garciaparra‘s health, and Carlos Beltran’s contract.

Good luck trading that, Ned.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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mymrbig
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mymrbig

What about Andruw for Luis Castillo, with the Dodgers paying the rest of Andruw’s signing bonus, plus throwing in a couple million for his 2008 salary. Both teams get rid of headaches and bad contracts to fill a slight need.