Jones is batting just .234 with 2 HR over the season. Those are hardly the numbers Jones, a free agent after this season, was looking for when he was sent to the Yankees in the offseason trade with the Miami Marlins that also netted the Yankees enigmatic starter Nathan Eovaldi. To be fair, this definitely feels like a chicken / egg situation. Is he not hitting because his playing time is sporadic or is his playing time sporadic because he isn’t hitting?
With Tuesday night's pinch hit 3-run HR to break the tie and send the Yankees to an extra inning win against the Mariners, Jones made the case that it just might be the former.
Jones’s career numbers indicate that he can continue to do better especially in the power department as he has hit at least 15 HR in each of his full time seasons. Jones surely knew he would be a part time player when he arrived but this has to be more part-time than even he expected.
He was brought here to back up both Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran and, based on the 2014 seasons each of those players turned in, it seemed like the ABs would be there for him. Thankfully for the Yankees, Teixeira has locked down 1B, getting only the routine days off and producing like it’s 2009.
Although Beltran has picked up his pace as of late, he started off very poorly. In his stead Chris Young stepped in and had a very productive April. Unfortunately for Jones, this meant that, even when Joe Girardi did sit Beltran or one of the other OF’ers, Young was inserted as Girardi opted to ride the hot hand. Young is also the better defensive option so he had the edge there as well.
Jones is likely approaching the tail end of his career and seeking another multi-year deal. If he doesn’t get ABs at a higher rate, he’ll be looking at a one year make good deal at best. It’s a tough break for a player who was surely hoping his lefty swing in Yankee Stadium would show other teams that he could still hit. By powering one out of Safeco Field on Tuesday, Jones provided a glimpse of what he can do.
The season is still relatively young so there is time for Jones to still make an impression, but he’s going to need more than the 77 games in which he's projected to play if his current rate continues. With the Yankees lineup pretty well set each evening, he might not get those in NY. He hasn’t produced and isn’t signed past 2015 so he won’t net much in the trade market, but it has to be in the back of Cashman’s mind if anyone is desperate for a 1B.
Despite last night's heroics, Garrett Jones would likely welcome such a move, ending a disappointing tenure in pinstripes.