I have decided on the title of my running article which I hope will continue to run on this website. As there were no comments on my previous article, I will assume that a) No One Cares or b) I am the only person reading it.
I dont blame anyone. At this point in the baseball season, nothing is happening. Minor free agents are signing meaningless contracts, i.e., Andruw Jones & Alex Gonzalez, and teams are posturing. Many “sources” provide fodder for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and the like. Will the Blue Jays trade Roy Halladay? Who knows, but it is better to speculate about it then write nothing at all. Hell, if all ESPN and SI can put out is conjecture what the hell am I going to say.
The point is, there isnt much to say. Until the first domino falls, no one knows how this offseason will shape up.
How about Andrew/Andruw/Andru Jones? Remember when he hit 2 HR’s in a World Series game against the Yankees? What happened to him? Did he just lose confidence? Did he not try hard enough? Did he eat his way out of baseball? Or is he a casualty of the steroid era? I mean at this point, how could you at least not speculate that a guy who was productive and durable came crashing to the earth at around the same time steroids became a big deal. I am not saying that he took steroids. The point is that he could have taken steroids or some other performance enhancing substance. Or his career could have simply followed a bell curve, who knows. I certainly dont. However, that is what a blog is for, to voice an opinion and let the people decide one way or another.
For example, from 1997 until 2006, Jones averaged 33.7 HR’s a season. In 2005 and 2006, he managed to hit 51 and 41 HR’s respectively. In 2007, he dropped to 27 HR’s. Now, he is signing a minor league deal worth $500,000. Jones never hit for average, but I do not recall a debilitating injury (Jones did not go on the disabled list in his career until 2008) or anything else that would have slowed his career.
Look, more likely than not, Jones is just a victim of a downward career spiral. He put on weight and might not have had the discipline to maintain his status as an elite player. He never got a huge payday, ala, Adrian Beltre. (I mention Adrian Beltre not because he took steroids but because he had a curiously productive career year which coincided
with his free agency year. Beltre has not come close to duplicating those numbers.) It is worth noting that Adrian Beltre had his huge season, .334 AVG and 48 HR’s in 2004. Jones’ best seasons came in 2005 and 2006. Despite being poised to receive a huge payday in free agency, Jones fizzled. One has to wonder why this occurred.
It is a shame because Jones could have been the Griffey Junior of his era. Now he is hoping for at-bats on the White Sox.
I know the steroid angle is played out and that no one cares anymore because most people assume all baseball players are guilty of something. However, any player whose career was productive and who has a rapid decline is under suspicion. Plus, it should be noted, Jones is only 32, which means his career derailed in his late 20′s. A little early for a guy who was pretty consistent over a 10 year span to suddenly lose the ability to hit a baseball, especially when he was never injured.