It’s sure looking like Andruw Jones, who came up through the Atlanta Braves’ farm system and has been playing in the Big Leagues for the team since he was 19, is about to hit the road. The AJC’s David O’Brien reports,
In a conversation with the Journal-Constitution, agent Scott Boras was more clear than he has been to date on the subject of Jones and chances of the soon-to-be-free-agent center fielder accepting a discount to stay with the Braves.” Andruw Jones took a discount to stay in Atlanta last time,” Boras said, referring to the six-year, $75 million contract Jones negotiated with the Braves before the 2002 season, when he and his father worked out the deal with general manager John Schuerholz without Boras at the table. Jones has assured Boras he will let the agent handle negotiations this time, and Boras told him about 15 teams will have interest. “He probably took 30 or 40 million less to stay, because he likes Atlanta and enjoys playing in Atlanta,” Boras said. “But as he said earlier in the year, he wants his fair market value [this time].”
Despite Jones’ career-worst season — .222 average, 26 homers, 94 RBIs Ã¢â‚¬â€ Boras seems certain he’ll command a contract befitting a nine-time Gold Glove winner with 368 homers, including 92 homers and 257 RBIs in 2005-06. “It’s a very different marketplace than when he signed his previous contract,” Boras said. “Revenues in baseball have doubled. We all know the Atlanta Braves are making millions of dollars in profits.”
Schuerholz again declined to discuss the Braves’ intentions for Jones, or say if they’ll make an offer. Team officials have indicated privately that Boras’ asking price will far exceed what they’re willing to pay.
[Boras also] represents Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira, who’s expected to command at least $12 million in his final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent after next season. The Braves want to re-sign the former Georgia Tech star, who has 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 53 games since being traded to Atlanta.
Teixeira is a much younger player and has greater upside. It’d be a shame to lose Jones but the Braves are playing with a much more limited payroll than several other clubs and Schuerholz has shown a propensity to let aging home-grown stars leave rather than overpay.
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