UPDATE 4:46 PM: Kind of a vague comment by Rob Biertempfel on Twitter suggesting that Pirates fans shouldn’t get too attached to Jones. The Pirates had the second waiver claim, which means only the Nationals had a chance to claim him. Jones probably has some trade value, and I’d imagine someone from the 28 remaining teams would be interested. Is this a claim and trade move by the Pirates? Or am I reading too much in to a 140-character or less comment on Twitter?
UPDATE 4:28 PM: Jennifer Langosch reports that no one has to come off the 40-man roster at this point because the Brendan Donnelly signing isn’t MLB official yet. The Pirates have officially announced the addition of Jones, so at this point he is on the 40-man, and Donnelly is not. A spot will need to be created for Donnelly now.
UPDATE 4:01 PM: More info on Jones. According to my calculations, Jones has 106 days of major league service time. He also has one option remaining, which means he can be sent down to AAA if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training, unlike Brandon Moss, who is out of options. Jones had a major league salary of $400 K in 2009. I’ve added him to the Spring Training Tracker, which now has 61 players. I list Jones as having a chance to make the team.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed outfielder Brandon Jones off of waivers from the Atlanta Braves. Jones was designated for assignment last week when the Braves signed Eric Hinske.
The Pirates tried to trade Jason Bay to Atlanta in 2008 for Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Brent Lillibridge, and Jones, but Atlanta didn’t want to include Morton in the deal. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jones was claimed by the Pirates, as Neal Huntington has shown a habit of going after players who are let go from his previous trade partners (look at how many ex-Yankees we grabbed after the Nady trade, and how many ex-Mariners we’ve grabbed since the Wilson/Snell deal).
I like the addition of Jones. He’s a career .257/.313/.365 hitter in his brief time in the majors, although that’s only limited to 148 at-bats. In his AAA career he is a .277/.354/.420 hitter. Jones has plus speed and solid arm strength, although needs some work on his outfield defense and his throwing accuracy. Jones is kind of in the Brandon Moss category, where his upside is currently of a solid number four outfielder. He’s 6′ 2″, 195 pounds, a left handed hitter, and just turned 26 last month. If anything, this adds more depth to the right field/first base situation.
I’ll update the 2010 40-man roster/payroll page when a corresponding move is made. The Off-Season Tracker has been updated with the move, along with Jones’ 2009 salary, although he will likely see a small raise over that number in 2010 if he’s in the majors.