Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Above the Fold - Keeping up with the Jones'

Now that we've had a couple of days to ponder the Detroit Tigers binging on players named Jones, I thought I'd be a good time to tally up what the lying, untrained, no-nothing (According to Chris McCosky) Tigers bloggers thought of the Todd and Jacque Jones acquisitions. Let's take a walk back in time through my RSS reader...

At Bless you Boys, Ian, in his inimitable way, thinks the Jacque Jones trade leaves us with more questions, than answers...

Was getting a serviceable left fielder for a player who may not have even been on next season's roster a good move? Or does Jones's salary and production concern you? And what about Dave Dombrowski making two major off-season moves before baseball's winter meetings? Might he have jumped a bit too soon or is it better perhaps to go into those meetings totally focused on getting some bullpen help?

As for The Rollercoaster, Ian is more bullish, calling Todd Jones and the Tigers "A perfect match."

But with top-shelf closers like Francisco Cordero and Mariano Rivera likely to earn multi-year contracts worth at least $40 million, Jones represented the best value for the Tigers - especially considering that he'll only be keeping the closer's seat warm until Zumaya is (hopefully) ready to take on that responsibility. The Tigers wanted a one-year deal, and that's all Jones wanted, too. A perfect match.

Kurt over on Mack Avenue Tigers is OK with the Jones gang, but "It still feels like the team needs to do more it if wants to get back to the playoffs." For what it's worth, I totally agree with Kurt. The Tigers haven't really added to their pitching, they've just maintained the status quo up to this point. Here's MAT on Jacque Jones...

He won’t tar the ball, or play Gold Glove defense, but he does bat lefty and should be a capable starter.

And on the soft tossing Todd Jones...

Not the most glamorous move, obviously, but he did the job effectively and, really, looking at the way he pitches, it’s hard to picture him “losing” all that much from his stuff. (What stuff!?) Of course, his success depends on his defense. So lets hope that holds up.

Quo Vadimus is fine with the beginning of the Jacque Jones era, as he's the "Perfect one-year stop gap." As long as that's ALL Jones is, I'm on the same page as Scott...

He's a career .285 batter, and should fit in nicely in the #7 or #8 spot in the Tigers batting order. Essentially, he's Craig Monroe, but left-handed and with a higher batting average. Certainly will be fine until Cameron Maybin is ready to take over in 2009.

Samara at Roar of the Tigers gives Dave Dombrowski 2 thumbs up, but finds even more upside in the Jacque Jones deal...

"Oooo, that’ll be our third JJ in 3 seasons!"

OK, I had to think about this...Jacque Jones in 2008, Jair Jurrjens in 2007, and Jason Johnson. But he played in 2005! There were no JJ's in '06! OMG! Sam, get it together!

Seriously, Sam felt the Todd Jones signing was "Inevitable."

With Joel Zumaya in pieces on the floor, we knew we needed a closer of some sort. Jonesy likes Detroit (he had a chance to test free agency this offseason and chose not to do so). Leyland seems to like Jonesy. Barring injury, we pretty much know what to expect from him: not a lot of strikeouts, a ton of guys put on base, a lot of heart-attack style 9th innings. Obviously the Tigers decided that they were prepared to deal with all that again.

She's also afraid that Omar Infante may "Pull a Carlos Pena" with the Cubs, but wasn't going to happen for him in Detroit, so...

...we gave up basically nothing to get Jacque Jones. He’s a left-handed bat, which we needed. He can play left field, which we needed, and he won’t have to play every day since he’ll probably platoon a lot with The River Thames and maybe Raburn, which will cut his injury risk down. He had a weirdly unbalanced 2007 (terrible first half, great second half) with poor power, but the power outage at least was an anomaly for him.

At The Daily Fungo
, Mike is "Underwhelmed" with Jacque Jones. I give Mike a +1 for sneaking in a Timo Perez reference. Hey, you all know my thoughts, ANYONE but Timo in left field in '08...

As Jon Paul Morosi suggests, this is likely a stop-gap solution until Cameron Maybin is ready for prime time, all the time. If that’s the case, I supposed I can live with it.

Still, you have to believe that somewhere in the Dominican Republic, Timo Perez is wondering what he has to do to become more than a September call up.

But probably not in those words.

The voice of reason in the Tigers blogosphere, The Detroit Tigers Weblog's Biller, likes the Jacque Jones deal, even more so if he's used correctly by Jim Leyland, as part of a platoon.

If the Tigers deploy him as part of a platoon, they have the makings of an acceptable offensive outfield. Jones against righties has hit 294/342/483. Meanwhile Marcus Thames against lefties is 263/333/512. For a total cost of $5 million or so a combined 280/335/490 line would fit nicely in this lineup.

The concern with Jones of course is that his slugging fell off the map last year when he only hit 5 homers. It was a Sean Casey-ish year, but it wasn’t nearly as conspicuous as he played a large chunk in centerfield. Whether it was an anomaly or aging remains to be seen. It’s also worth noting that Jones posted the best walk to strikeout ratio of his career last year. For what it’s worth James projects a 278/332/433 line but without facing lefties he has a chance to better that..

As for Todd Jones? As would most of us, he would have preferred Cordero. Overall, It's an OK signing, with qualifications...

There is value in the Tigers moving quickly to fill a need. Plus Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland have a penchant for the familiar making them comfortable with Todd Jones. As for the $7 million, the Tigers probably overpaid. Jones is about one win above replacement level. Assuming a win in the free agent market is worth $4.4 million then Jones salary should be about $4.8 million (you need to add the major league minimum to the base).

As long as Todd Jones can continue to keep his slugging against south of .400, and if he can limit the walks, the should be okay in 2008.

At Tiger Tales, Lee is cool with Jacque Jones as part a platoon. The question is, will Leyland actually use a platoon in left?

Assuming that Jones' 2007 power drought was an aberration (maybe not a safe assumption at his age) and also that Leyland uses him in a platoon, Jones should be a decent acquisition. Jim Leyland has been a bit reluctant to platoon in the past but with Jones' splits and Marcus Thames/Raburn on the bench, I think that a platoon will be in order. The deal likely means that Timo Perez will be the odd man odd out. The projected bench is: Thames, Raburn, Santiago, VanceWilson/Mike Rabelo.

But Todd Jones as the closer for 1 more season is a concern, and Lee breaks out the stats to back that thought up...

As always, the big question with him is how long can he keep saving games with such a small margin for error. In 2007, he had a 4.26 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP and a 33/23 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 63 appearances. He has gotten by on good control and ground balls but even those weren't working as well in 2007. His walks per 9 innings increased from 1.6 in 2006 to 3.4 in 2007 and his ground ball rate dropped from 52.9% to 45.9%.

At Tigerblog, Brian hopes Jacque Jones returns to his Twins form...

Jones looks like he’s on the downswing but he’s also been sort of the odd man out in the Cubs outfield. He’s been surrounded by trade rumors pretty much since he got to Chicago. He had an off year in 2007 but he was a solid 20 homer/75 RBI guy orior to that and he’s a career .280 hitter. His upside is probably his 2006 season but I’d be happy with what he gave the Twins back in 2005.

The Todd Jones signing gets a much less favorable review...

So you have a pitcher who, with four losses and three other blown saves (he had six total, but three of those he also took losses), will come out and give you a rock solid outing six out of seven times and blow the game the seventh. If you can live with that (not sure how that compares to other closers), then maybe the $7 million is warranted. I just think $7 million for 70 innings is a but much.

Eno is happy with the Tigers' swiftness in aggressively addressing their needs at Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb?

I like how the Tigers are addressing needs swiftly. They moved quickly to shore up their shortstop vacancy, trading for Edgar Renteria. They signed closer Todd Jones yesterday, ensuring he won't be testing the free agent waters. And now they've filled their need for a lefty stick, courtesy the Jacque Jones move.

So I think it's safe to say that, overall, the Tigers bloggers are more enthused by Jacque Jones (With one qualifier, if he's used correctly as part of a platoon), than Todd Jones. They understand why The Roillercoaster came back, but have major concerns that his smoke and mirrors style of closing can work for one more season.

That's "Above the Fold" for Wednesday, 11-14-07!

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