Jones, booed almost since his first at-bat in Los Angeles, has requested a trade and the Dodgers are pleased to oblige. He is likely to be traded – or released – in the coming weeks after the team and player agreed to defer about $12 million the outfielder would be due in 2009.
The agreement will free the Dodgers of Jones, who batted .158 and struck out 76 times in 209 at-bats over 75 games, and allows them the flexibility to continue their pursuit of free agent outfielder Manny Ramirez and starting pitching.
Desperate for outfield help that would cover for their signing of Juan Pierre, the Dodgers compounded their problems with the signing of Jones, who showed up in spring training overweight and, apparently, under-motivated. He eventually underwent knee surgery and missed more than half the season. In an attempt to reclaim his swing and rehabilitate his knee, Jones is playing in the Dominican winter league, where he has three hits and eight strikeouts in 16 at-bats.
With the Dodgers paying his salary, Jones would become a no-risk invitation to spring training. Twice in the top five in MVP voting and a five-time All-Star, he would seem to fit in a place such as Washington, whose GM – Jim Bowden – is drawn to such projects.