First Pitch: A Garrett Jones Trade Might Not Be a Guarantee

Throughout most of the off-season, it seemed inevitable that the Pittsburgh Pirates would trade Joel Hanrahan. There also seemed to be a strong possibility that Garrett Jones could be traded. In both cases we heard plenty of rumors about each player. Both players were due for a raise in arbitration. There was a good reason behind the idea of a trade for each player. But that didn’t mean they were both guaranteed to be traded.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe had an update on Jones recently.

The Red Sox and Pirates never got deep into discussions of first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones during the Joel Hanrahan trade talks because, according to a major league source, “The Pirates really valued Jones highly.” Jones seemed to be a good fit for the Sox.

A Hanrahan trade made sense. The Pirates didn’t have a history of paying closers. It could also be argued that a small market team spending 10% of their payroll on a closer is a bad strategy. It was hard to envision Hanrahan remaining on the team heading into the season.

Jones might not be a guarantee to be traded. - Photo by Mark Olson

Jones might not be a guarantee to be traded. – Photo by Mark Olson

A Jones trade also would make sense. He’s coming off a year where he hit for a .274/.317/.516 line with 27 homers in 475 at-bats. But that follows two almost identical years where he combined for a .245/.312/.422 line, with home run totals of 16 and 21. There’s a chance that he could be at his highest value right now, set to regress back to those 2010-11 numbers. There’s also the chance that he could repeat his 2012 numbers, which would make him a huge bargain at his projected $4.4 M salary. If that wasn’t a possibility, he wouldn’t have any trade value.

Don’t confuse Jones trade rumors with an idea that Jones is as good as gone. We’ve been hearing Jones trade rumors for a while, and each time the story is the same: the Pirates have a high value on Jones. The Angels tried to get him in 2010, and again in 2011. Each time the Pirates had a high value on Jones, either refusing to part with his power bat, or asking for a price that the Angels didn’t want to match. Earlier in the winter we heard that the Pirates asked for Taijuan Walker in a deal for Jones, but that they were rebuffed by Seattle.

For three years we’ve heard Jones in rumors. And for three years we’ve heard that the Pirates have a high value on Jones. This news from Cafardo is just more of what we’ve heard before. I said earlier in the off-season that I would be surprised if Joel Hanrahan was on the team on Opening Day. On a similar note, I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett Jones was on the team on Opening Day. When you consider the asking price for Jones, and you consider that the Pirates have been holding to their high value for three years, it doesn’t seem likely that a deal will happen. The only way a deal could happen is if the Pirates lowered their value, or another team met their price. Neither has happened in the last three years, and I’d be surprised at this point if either situation happened this off-season.

Links and Notes

**The 2013 Prospect Guide is now available. Go to the products page of the site and order your copy today!

**The eBook version of The 2013 Prospect Guide is also available through our publisher. They also have a discount code during the month of January that allows you to save 20%. Use the code JANBOOKS13 to get the discount. This code is only valid on the eBook on the publisher’s web site, and not the books on the products page of the site.

**Pirates Interested in Shaun Marcum.

**Pirates and Francisco Liriano Still Talking.

**Pirates Sign Australian Pitcher Nick Hutchings.

**Winter Leagues Recap: Welch Drives In Three.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Share This Post On
  • https://profiles.google.com/105668650510920614054 Brian Bernard

    I think Garret Jones will have a high value on Garret Jones pretty soon, and then he’ll be gone with nothing to show for it.
    Another missed opportunity by this too slow to act front office.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

      He’s staying until you can spell his first name correctly.

    • leadoff

      I don’t think they are slow to act at all, shopping takes time and it takes two to tango most of the time, the free agent list is not always a fit both money and or positions.

  • http://twitter.com/beatembuccos21 beatembuccos21

    Now you are saying this:

    “I said earlier in the off-season that I would be surprised if Joel Hanrahan was on the team on Opening Day. On a similar note, I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett Jones was on the team on Opening Day.”

    Here’s what you wrote earllier:

    ” I don’t think it’s as inevitable as a Hanrahan trade, but I’d be surprised if the Pirates kept Jones.” (http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/12/first-pitch-what-is-the-next-move-for-the-pirates.html).

    Unless my comprehension is poor, you’ve taken the opposite stance with this post compared to where you were in the aftermath of the Hammer deal. Is that because two weeks have passed and you have a better read on the situation?

    • http://daleberrasstash.blogspot.com/ Kevin Creagh

      Going into the 2012 regular season, I would have thought that was Jones last year with the Pirates. His arb price was going to creep up and his production was on the border of justifying it. Then he had a very nice 2012 campaign. He was offered around to see what his value was and no one bit (Taijuan Walker from SEA).

      Contingency plans like Sands and Robinson were brought in, which led many to believe Jones was on his way out. I think Tim is now re-reading the tea leaves and seeing that the chance of Jones being traded is much, much smaller than in December.

      Personally, I put his trade chances at 15% throughout the off-season as that’s too much power to give up for a team that desperately needs to break .500 this year for all parties’ sakes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

        John…I’m with you. I don’t see Sands and Robinson as Jones replacements.

        And NH has denied every aspect of that T Walker/Jones trade rumor.

        .

      • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

        It’s more about the recent information, which backs up the information we’ve heard from the last three years. Plus that’s another team that isn’t in on Jones.

        Also, I never thought that Sands and Robinson guaranteed a trade. As I mentioned in that article above, they’ve both got options, so the Pirates could keep everyone.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      I don’t look at things in black and white, so I wouldn’t say there’s any opposite stances here.

      A few weeks ago we obviously didn’t have the Cafardo news that came out yesterday. That’s going to change anyone’s view on the probability of Jones being traded. After reading that I went back and searched all of the previous GFJ rumors. Each time the story was the same: the Pirates had a high asking price and the other teams weren’t paying it.

      For some more reference on my previous thoughts on Jones, I said on Twitter on 12/27 (the same day as that article) that I felt there was a 60/40 chance of Jones being traded (https://twitter.com/timwilliamsP2/status/284477995610169344). I’d say the reminder from Cafardo has shifted that to somewhere in the 30/70 range. Not only is that a reminder of the high value on Jones, it also shows that Boston won’t be in on Jones, which removes one team that matched up well for his services.

      So again, not a black and white issue. Just shades of gray probabilities based on what information is available at the time.

  • leadoff

    The only way I could see Jones leaving is in a big package deal or at the trade deadline if the Pirates are not doing well.
    IMO, everyone on any team is trade worthy for the right price.

  • jg941

    Any guesses on Mike Napoli’s price tag for 1 or 2 years? If reasonable, I suggested it may make sense to take a run at him, and re-visit a Jones trade with the Sox if they are bailing on Napoli and their options dwindle.

    Oddly enough, Napoli’s splits as a RH are as high or higher against RHPs as most LH hitters, including the guys we would have in platoon-type roles at 1B (Jones) and at C (McKenry). He is, effectively, and ideal hitter lefty platoon against RHPs, who just happens to hit right-handed (Check out his splits the last two seasons – crazy, if he can come close to maintaining those). He can play 75% at 1B, and take a portion of ABs against righties at C.

    Just a thought, unless you think he’s still going to pull down north of $10 mil/yr on a shorter term.

    Not sure what’s reasonable from Sox for Jones – SS Iglesias? P Henry Owen? SS Deven Merrero? 2B Brock Holt? (wanted to make sure you were still listening….:-).

    Is P Daniel Bard due? How about John Lackey and a lot of cash coming back? (his Bill James projections look (suspiciously) very good for next year – as do Bard’s – bet Sox would seize opportunity to kick in and move on (and the beer and chicken are cheaper in Pittsburgh, too.)