The White Sox added to their bench depth today by signing veteran outfielder Andruw Jones to a one-year contract worth a reported $500,000, with a reported $1 million in performance bonuses. It appears the Sox see Jones as backup help and not as a starter.
Jones’ hitting line in Texas this year was .214/.323/.459 for an OPS of .782. His weighted on-base average (wOBA) was .338. If there’s any good sign in the numbers for Sox fans, it’s that Jones had an isolated power number of .246 (slugging percentage minus batting average), meaning the hits he does get go for extra bases. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .224, and that figures to rise in 2010 closer to the league average of about .300. His groundball rate dropped from 47.8 percent in 2008 with the Dodgers to 34.4 percent with the Rangers, and his flyball rate went from 38.8 percent to 49.5 percent. The Bill James Handbook for 2010 projects a line of .232/.336/.443 for an OPS of .779.
As far as the Cubs go, I’m getting caught up after about 12 days off the continent. From people I’ve talked with in the last couple of days since returning, GM Jim Hendry appears to be working steadily on trading right fielder Milton Bradley. Cubs people still express confidence Hendry will get a deal done as he continues to haggle over the price.
Even though you’ve read suggestions that the Cubs should trade shortstop prospect Starling Castro to the Tigers for outfielder Curtis Granderson, it simply is not going to happen. The Cubs appear to have a bona fide blue-chip prospect at a position other than pitcher, and they are not trading him for Granderson or anybody else. And no, I do not see the Cubs as a player for Roy Halladay, but you probably knew that, given their money situation.
Speaking of Castro, he turned in a line of .376/.396/.475 for an OPS of .871 in 26 games in the Arizona Fall League. He hit 1 homer and drove in 10. Third base man Josh Vitters had a line of .353/.380/.485 for an OPS of .866. he had 1 homer and 8 RBI.
Reliever Blake Parker, who was added to the 40-man roster, was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 11 relief appearances. You could see Parker at Wrigley Field next year. He had 22 saves this year at Iowa.
Lefty reliever John Gaub, also added to the 40-man recently, was 1-1 with a 9.31 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP in 10 AFL games this year. Gaub came over from the Indians in the Mark DeRosa trade. He also could crack the big-league bullpen next year.
Park Ridge’s Brian Schlitter, who has been playing in Mexico, was 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 18 relief appearances.
Andrew Cashner, the top pick of the Cubs in 2008, was 2-3 in 6 starts in the AFL with a 4.58 ERA and a whip of 1.37.
Things should start to heat up again after Thanksgiving. I head to Indy for the winter meetings a week from Sunday to cover both the Cubs and Sox. Should be fun.