Garrett Jones Nearing a Deal With the Marlins

The Miami Marlins are nearing a two year deal with Garrett Jones, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Garrett Jones Pirates

Garrett Jones is nearing a two year deal with the Marlins. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

This deal would almost certainly mean that Logan Morrison is available via trade. Earlier this week I wrote that the first base market is now looking like a buyer’s market. I think this set of moves only adds to that. The Marlins weren’t considered a team that needed a first baseman, and the swap of Jones for Morrison on the market does nothing to change the quantity of first basemen available. That said, if I had a choice between Morrison and Jones, I would take Morrison.

Jones is coming off a down year at the age of 32 where he had a .708 OPS, including a .730 OPS against right-handers. That’s a concern due to the age, although there would be the hope for any signing team that it was just a down year, and not the start of his decline. Morrison has a career .764 OPS and a career .786 OPS against right-handers. You also have to consider that he plays in a pitcher’s park. He turned 26 in August, so there is still the hope that he could improve on those numbers as he enters his prime. If I had a choice between hoping Garrett Jones isn’t on the decline at 32, and hoping Logan Morrison can improve at age 26, I’d choose the latter.

There are five to six teams currently in need of a first baseman. The free agent market has Mike Napoli, Kendrys Morales, James Loney, and Corey Hart. The trade market now has Morrison, Ike Davis, Adam Lind, Mitch Moreland, and Mark Trumbo. The odds of the Pirates getting a good first base option looked good the other day. Those odds go up now that Morrison has been added to the market.

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.

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  • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

    LoMo would be nothing but competition for Lambo, he is marginal at best and constantly injured. That said, it’s one less team bidding for Napoli, and one less team for Loney to court.

  • stickyweb

    Interesting idea to trade for Morrison, but all of the blogs and comments don’t think the Bucs are a good fit as the Fish need a solid 3B and we know what kind of depth the Bucs have there. Three team trade, anyone?

    True Morrison hasn’t been overly impressive, especially the last 2 years, but he’s still just 26 years old and could be a good “change of scenery” guy. Miami’s been a mess recently and that could certainly affect a player, especially a young player, negatively. A little mentoring by Cutch, Walker, etc. could help too.

    Everyone talks about the Marlin’s park being pitcher friendly, and lo and behold, Morrison has OPS .744 and .820 the last 2 years, which were his down years overall. Might be worth a shot if the asking price isn’t too high.

    • stickyweb

      ** should be OPS .744 and .820 ON THE ROAD…

      • emjayinTN

        Stick: LoMo is young and talented offensively, but his D is below that of Brandon Moss, so that is a big consideration for the Pirates. He also comes with the baggage of his Twitter “jones”, and public disagreements with the FO of Miami. They are Buffoons, but still, that is not what you want for a team that has great chemistry. Loney is definitely the best defensive 1B available and hit well once away from the bright lights and constant pressure in LA to be a better power hitter. Take a look at his first two years up and he has the stroke. A 2 year deal would be excellent, but he may want to go to a team where he will be the full time 1B. Incidentally, 2 years ago Gaby Sanchez’ defensive numbers were up in the Top 5 as a regular for the Marlins. I would be comfortable with him as the full time 1B for the Pirates in 2014. If not Loney or Sanchez, then possibly trading for Mitch Moreland who has more pop than Loney, or Yonder Alonso. All 3 are in the plus numbers of UZR – Loney 6.1, Moreland 3.6, Alonso 3.1. For the UZR/150 fans Loney 7.2, Moreland 4.6, Alonso 4.8. Moreland and Alonso are guys with 3 and 2 years of MLB Service, so they are longer term.

  • csnumber23

    I don’t understand why the Marlins would want Jones but they can have him. I still it’s Loney or a trade for the Bucs.

    Can someone explain to me how Seattle all of the sudden has all these millions to spend??

  • mblthd

    You can’t spell Loney or Morrison without N-O. No, no, no…

    Just bring in some competition for Lambo, like Gamel and/or anyone else with pop from the LH side and a 1B glove and let them fight it out. Whoever comes out on top will give you better production than Loney and Morrison and at a fraction of the cost, unless Morrison can be gotten for a bag of balls, in which case, okay, make the trade and let him try to beat out Lambo. But for goodness sake do NOT give Loney a contract, please, do not resurrect the Joe Randa era.

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

      I wasn’t aware that player analysis was as simple as “What words can you spell using the letters of a player’s name?”

      You also can’t spell James Loney without “Yes”. And you can’t spell Mat Gamel without the word “Met”. So do you want someone whose name spells “Yes” or someone whose name spells a hated team in New York?

      I like this game.

      • mblthd

        jamES loneY = “YES, he will cost a lot of money”

        james lONey = “NO, we should not sign him”

        mat GAMEL = “GLEAM in his eye in the March sunshine in Bradenton, knee feels great, ready to rake and compete for a job, etc”

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

          So the Pirates should sign Mat Gamel on the basis of every Spring Training cliche that never ends up being true?

          • mblthd

            No, just one ST cliche – take a guy who was once a prospect but got derailed due to injury or whatever, give him a shot (don’t cost nothing) in ST and see what he can do. If he flames out, so what, and if he rakes, it’s found money.

            It often doesn’t work out but every once in a while it does – see, e.g., 2010 Mike Morse.

          • mblthd

            You think Ryan Raburn didn’t feel some energy in the Goodyear, AZ sunshine in March 2013? Released by DET a few months earlier, written off, then given a chance by CLE to win a job – not handed a fat contract, but given a chance to play his way on to the team.

            A cliche? Maybe, and maybe Gamel isn’t the next Raburn, but still, it don’t cost nothing to find out. Loney, on the other hand, will cost a lot of money, and you know what you’re getting there – pure sucky-ness.

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

              Raburn was coming off a down year, and had previous success. That’s not the case with Gamel.

              • mblthd

                Different fact patterns, but same ST cliche – take a guy who’s been written off (for whatever reason) a chance to win a job and see what happens.

                There are other ST cliches – give a fat contract to a slouch who think of himself as “proven” – we’ve seen how those turn out.

            • JoseGuillensArm

              Seriously though you have to have some vesting interest to be this into a guy who has about 250 career ABs and an average under .230. My guess is you’re a relative or maybe you have some crazy office pool going or maybe this is actually Mat Gamel and you’re just really trying to get an offer from a team.
              Also, where do you get this foresight to predict that James Loney will be the 1B equivalent of John McDonald? The guy has good splits that we’re looking for in the platoon with Gabby, doesn’t strike out a ton, plays solid D, and won’t break the bank that the likes of Napoli would. I know he’s no Mat Gamel but he’s a solid option for the Bucs at this point and he’s actually produced at the major league level unlike your boy.

              • mblthd

                Again, I’m not into Gamel. He’s just an example who came to mind of a low-cost guy who may, for all we know, be capable of giving the kind of production you hope to get from the 1B position. Call it Player A or whatever… I’m just saying find some low-cost guy(s) with some pop, and they’re out there, and let him/them compete with Lambo.

                As to Loney, the only foresight I have is his track record over his last 3,000 PA, which is much closer to John McDonald than anything that resembles “solid,” and thus is not worth $8MM.

        • IC Bob

          How can you like Gamel and not Morrison. At least Morrison hit a lot before he ghad a major injury of which he finally appears to be recovered from. Gamel can’t stay healthy and when he does he can’t seem to stick in the bigs. The Marlins may trade Morrison for next to nothing and I guarantee you the Bucs fans will absolutely love that guy. He will be a doubles machine in PNC. Would love to see us get a Morrison.

    • csnumber23

      Mat Gamel, no thanks! Why would you want Gamel over Loney? Loney is a solid player who will fit well. We don’t need a big power guy, the team has plenty of power. We need a solid OBP guy who hits in the clutch and plays good defense. Loney fits this and wouldn’t have to be traded for.

      • mblthd

        Loney has a wiffle ball bat, hasn’t cracked 800 OPS since 2007, and therefore does not merit a contractual commitment. Gamel would cost next to nothing, compete with Lambo (and whoever else you want to throw into the mix), and the winner produces better than Loney would and at a fraction of the cost.

        If Gamel washes out in ST, so what, you haven’t lost anything. If you sign Loney, you’ve committed millions to a punch-less out-maker.

        • csnumber23

          I want someone proven at 1B come opening day. This team is a contender! You are underestimating Loney by a lot. Also, I don’t think he will cost as much as the reports say but I guess we will see soon.

          • mblthd

            The only thing Loney has “proven” since 2008 is that he’s a 750 OPS hitter. That’s the kind of production you hope to get out of a utility infielder who can play some SS for you. If you’re getting 750 OPS from: (1) your first baseman, (2) to whom you’re paying $8MM, then that’s a problem.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

          Gamel’s career OPS is under .700. His ISO of .148 is negligibly better than Loney’s (.136), which when you account for park factors is even less of a difference. He was non-tendered by an organization that needs a first baseman. And yet somehow this guy is preferable to Loney…why, because he’s FREE?

          You play to win the game, not to save money. The problem with penciling in Gamel as your Plan A is that there is no Plan B if he washes out (which is the far likeliest scenario). Sure, it didn’t cost you anything. Except maybe a playoff spot.

          The Bucs have money, and they have plenty of former top prospects on the roster who haven’t broken out (Snider, Lambo, Tabata, Decker). They don’t need to go dumpster diving for one more when there are reasonably priced options on the open market.

          • mblthd

            Again, Gamel has all of 269 PA – too small a sample size to make an informed judgement. Look at Domonic Brown’s stats going into 2013, and with a bigger sample size than 269 PA, and then look at what he did in 2013.

            And again, I’m not saying Gamel is Plan A. Gamel is one example of a LH bat who can play 1B who you bring in to compete with Lambo. There are probably 10 other guys I don’t know about who fit that description – bring one or two or three of them in. Whoever wins the battle is your guy, and will out-produce whatever Loney would have given you with his wiffle ball bat.

            You do play to win the game, yes, and when you give big fat contracts to guys who don’t produce, you lose the game. See, e.g., Derek Bell, Joe Randa, Pat Meares, etc.

          • Y2JGQ2

            amen

        • https://www.facebook.com/mike.rosati.75 Mike Rosati

          I’m sorry If I’m missing something with Gamel, but from what I can tell, he’s pretty terrible. You keep saying Loney’s OPS hasn’t cracked .800 since 2007, but Gamel has NEVER broken 800, let alone come close, plus, he has a reverse split, we’re trying to find somebody to platoon with Gaby, Gamel makes zero sense.

          • mblthd

            Again, Gamel has never broken 800 OPS in a sample size of 269 PA. You cannot make any informed judgement on splits or anything else in a sample that small. Loney hasn’t broken 800 OPS in a sample size of his last 3,000 PA.

            And again, Gamel is just an example – I mention him because it was not long ago that he was considered a top hitting prospect, and MIL was ready to hand him the keys to their 1B job last spring when a knee injury derailed him. Hence, that seems like a possible lightning in a bottle situation, like Morse in 2010 or Raburn in 2013.

            Or, maybe he flames out, who knows? I’m just saying that you’re better off bringing in Gamel and/or anyone else you think might fit the bill of productive LH bat with a 1B glove, and let him/them COMPETE with Lambo to win the job.

            The issue here isn’t Gamel – if you want to focus on his 269 PA sample size then okay, bring in someone else. The point is, do not give $8MM to a slouch like Loney just because he thinks he’s “proven” – that’s the old Joe Randa, Derek Bell, Pat Meares Pirates.

            • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

              I get your point, I just disagree with the strategy. On the one hand you’ve got Loney, who despite your distaste for him, is an average major league player. He is who we thought he was. Since he would be platooned, what you will most likely get is something approaching his career splits vs. RHP, which is .295/.351/.442. That doesn’t suck.

              On the other hand you’ve got Gamel-Lambo-Jeff Clement (whoops, already tried that one)-fillintheblank.

              Problem is, even if you could somehow round up ten formerly famous prospects and give them enough spring training AB to make an informed decision, there is a really good chance the winner doesn’t approach those numbers. That’s why those guys are free. Sure, you could get lucky. Frankly we got lucky with GFJ before that went south.

              It’s not really hedging risk when you have multiple risky assets of the same type. The greatest likelihood is that they will all continue to suck. Which is why sometimes it’s preferable (particularly if you’re actually playing for something) to go with the sure, but unsexy, option.

              • mblthd

                I just see the winner of the whoever-Lambo competition, whoever that might be, producing as well as or better than Loney would.

                Gamel (and again, he’s just an example, there are surely others I don’t even know about who merit a shot at competing with Lambo) hasn’t sucked – he’s only had 269 PA, so he hasn’t had a chance to suck. Maybe he truly does suck, or maybe he doesn’t – maybe he’s 2010 Mike Morse waiting to happen. Or maybe he’s not, I have no idea.

                Loney has sucked for 3,000 PA, so you can be pretty sure he will continue to suck. That’s not just unsexy – it’s consistent sucky-ness over a long period of time which is sure to continue, and at a price tag of $8MM.

                To summarize, the Loney path guarantees sucky-ness, and costs $8MM. The Compete With Lambo path could be sucky-ness or could be something better, and costs next to nothing.

                • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

                  The problem with your analysis is the facts don’t support it. Loney does not suck. He is an average major league player statistically. And that’s with 25% of his AB coming against lefties, whom he does not hit well. Against RHP he is just about a .800 OPS hitter. He’s worth 1.5-2 wins a year. If any of the free alternatives could do that, they wouldn’t be available for free. Could you get lucky? Sure. But the cost of being wrong makes that gambit a bad idea for a contending team.

                  • mblthd

                    I just don’t buy Loney as 1.5 wins.

                    The fact is he’s got a 793 career OPS in 3000 PA vs RHP, and that’s including his >900 OPS vs RHP in 2006 and 2007, a lifetime ago. Those days are long gone and he’s proven that over the past 6 years.

                    793 on the good side of your split is “average major league player” only if you’re a utility infielder who can play some shortstop in a pinch, John McDonald, etc.

                    If Loney was a non-roster-invite guy then sure, bring him in, let him compete, etc. But a $8MM contract? That would be hideous, reminiscent of the old days of Derek Bell, Joe Randa, Pat Meares, etc.

          • Y2JGQ2

            Well Loney HAS an OPS over .800 vs. RIghties and that’s what we’d be signing him to hit.

            Can someone name me anyone who plays 1st who has an .800 OPS since 2007 out there who is currently available at less than 15 Million dollars or Jameson Taillon? Comeon now, lets quit being stupid.

            • mblthd

              Loney’s career OPS vs RHP = 793, which is not over 800.

              That 793 includes >900 in 2006 and 2007, so his OPS vs RHP since 2007 is less than 793, which is also not over 800.

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

                And for most of his career he played half of his games in Dodger Stadium, which is pitcher friendly and holds down numbers.

                • mblthd

                  The Astrodome was also pitcher friendly, and Derek Bell played a good chunk of his career there.

  • ddo729

    Is it possible that that the Marlins are looking at platoon situation and they need a cheaper option from the left side of the plate. It doesn’t make sense that you would go with Jones over Morrison unless they are still looking for a righty 1st baseman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

    How about the Pirates give Gabby back to the Marlins for Logan Morrison? Neal make it happen!!!

    • Jared

      Why? That doesn’t make any sense.

    • https://www.facebook.com/mike.rosati.75 Mike Rosati

      Why would we ever do that?

      • http://www.facebook.com/bob.martin.9003 Bob Martin

        I was being sarcastic..I know and you know the Pirates are not going to do anything to address their problem. Gabby will be the starter and maybe throw Lambo in there sometimes.

  • jburns1090

    James Loney is uninspiring, and may very well be Lyle Overbay 2.0. I would actually rather watch a suckish Garrett Jones than watch the platoon everyone seems to be wishing for. To me getting loney feels like they are just settling for something comfortable. Morrison and some of the other trade candidates at least have some upside.

    • Y2JGQ2

      i know people don’t like Loney, but he adds something we haven’t had. good defense with a righty pitching at 1st, and a good contact hitter who won’t k 149 times next year and there is value in that, that most of you just aren’t getting.

    • Y2JGQ2

      He may be…..but even Overbay isn’t awful, and wasn’t awful, and has contributed since he left pitt for other teams in a pinch. Our season wouldn’t end if he was that bad, but the chances of him being that bad are way less than other options we can afford, and we can always let Lambo play there if he fails. The world doesn’t end.

  • Andrew

    Can this be viewed as the Marlins betting on a turnaround, regression back to career number, then a deadline trade for some return?

  • leadoff

    Jones got 7 Mil for 2 years, the Pirates are not looking for a platoon 1st baseman for 7 or 8 mil a year, they can stay in house for very little. If they get Lonely, it will be to be a full time 1st basemen IMO.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

      Then why did they tender Gaby Sanchez?

      • leadoff

        As insurance in case they don’t get a full time option, they will be able to go the platoon route even though that won’t be the best route to go. Sanchez can also play some 3rd base and he can be traded or released.

    • Jared

      Isn’t this exactly opposite of what the Pirates have discussed doing, though?

      • leadoff

        I don’t know if they discussed what or how they are going to do anything other than address the issues at hand. I am not aware of any statements that they made saying how they are going to do anything.

  • TonyC17

    I see everyone continuing to bash loney and saying go with someone that has potentional. What I think is, ” are you guys still living in the world where the pirates suck?” The pirates are becoming contenders now and need some solutions. I’m not saying the pirates should pay whatever it costs to get loney, but why is it bad if we pay 7-8 mil for a .280 batting average, a .340 OBP, 30 doubles, double digit home runs and someone who strikes out less than 100 times a season and play solid 1st? Why the heck do we need someone who potential can hit 30 home runs? Because that’s what u look for in your prototypical first baseman. Pirates have plenty of power. We need OBP. We need someone who isn’t going to strike out with runners in scoring position. You are all calling for gamel ( or someone potential) and Lambo. We can play what if all day. What if they both are horrible and play worst than jones. And then stuck with gabe who can’t hit righties. You guys do realize we faced the least starting lefties in league last year.

    And that’s my rant for the day

    • mblthd

      “…but why is it bad if we pay 7-8 mil for a .280 batting average, a .340 OBP, 30 doubles, double digit home runs and someone who strikes out less than 100 times a season and play solid 1st?”

      It’s bad because there are probably 20 guys out there who could do better than that for a fraction of the cost. It’s all about allocating your resources wisely.

    • Y2JGQ2

      amen

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    Logan Morrison would be an interesting guy to see what it would take to land him. He is still young, and once was considered a very highly thought of young prospect. He’s a big guy and hits left handed – could be a good fit in PNC. Looking at this stats, he does not appear to be a huge strike out hitter. How is he with the glove?

    I’d be more excited about his longer term potential than a guy like Loney, who had a good season last year, but the 3-4 years before that were in the NL and he really struggled.

    I cannot imagine, given his past two years, that the price tag for Morrison would be real high. He seems like a guy who would be worth a gamble. They may hit it big with a guy like him.

    • mblthd

      If you could get Morrison or Duda for a bag of balls, then either one would be much more interesting than Loney, because either one has shown at least the potential to be able to mash RHP, and you wouldn’t have to pay either one of them anything close to the absurd salary that someone is (unwisely) going to pay to Loney.

  • Monkshot

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Kendrys Morales if we don’t get Loney. I know his defense isn’t the best, but I think his bat would play big in both the NL and PNC.

    • Jared

      I don’t want to give Seattle our 1st round pick for Kendrys.