Should Orioles center attention on Jones?

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

The Kickoff

October 04, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

There seems to be a lot of talk here regarding former Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones.

His name is sure to come up during the Orioles' organizational meetings that begin Monday in Sarasota, Fla. Manager Dave Trembley seems in favor of keeping Corey Patterson if the two sides can work out a deal. He likes Patterson's defense and speed. But Jones will get some consideration - and then the Orioles will be outbid for him.

How much would you pay Jones after the season he had (.222, 26 homers, 94 RBIs)? In his contract year? Patterson's average dropped from .276 last season to .269, and his home runs dropped from 16 to eight. His OPS went from .757 to .690, his stolen bases from 45 to 37.

If I thought the Orioles could insert a big-time bat in left field, I'd be fine with Patterson in center again. He's a bit overrated defensively. He misjudges some balls and outruns his mistakes. That's fine, as long as he's still got the wheels. And he goes about his business quietly and professionally. And he'll come much cheaper than Jones.

But the Orioles must find that bat somewhere. And they must at least consider Jones.

At one time, I would have jumped at the chance to obtain Jones. I'm not so sure anymore.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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