The Gold Glove center fielder and the Dodgers reached a
preliminary agreement Wednesday night on a $36.2 million, two-year
contract that gives him the fifth-highest average salary in the
"We're thrilled to get a player of his caliber," Dodgers
general manager Ned Colletti said Thursday morning. "His desire to
be in L.A. was a huge component in this."
Colletti said Jones likely would undergo a physical exam Tuesday
in Los Angeles.
Jones, the former Atlanta star who has won 10 straight Gold
Gloves, is coming off one of the worst offensive seasons of his
career. But if he rebounds, he could give the Dodgers a desperately
needed boost in the middle of the lineup. He must pass a physical
for the deal to be completed, a person familiar with the
negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no
announcement had been made.
A five-time All-Star, Jones will receive a $12.2 million signing
bonus, of which $5.1 million is payable next year, $2.1 million in
2009 and $5 million in 2010. He will get salaries of $9 million
next year and $15 million in 2009, and also will receive a no-trade
His agreement with the Dodgers was first reported by the Los
Angeles Times on its Web site.
Scott Boras, his agent, wouldn't confirm the agreement but
sounded as if a deal had fallen into place.
"Being on a competitive team was a very, very important part of
his process," he said.
Jones hit .222 this season, his lowest average since he batted
.217 in 106 at-bats as a rookie in 1996. His 26 home runs were his
fewest since 1997. He drove in 94 runs for the Braves, but finished
with a paltry .311 on-base percentage.
Had Jones finished with big numbers, he likely would have sought
a longer-term agreement. Boras said there were really only two
options when it came to length.
"Very, very long-term or very, very short term," he said.
"Nothing in between."
Jones didn't consider a one-year contract.
"I wouldn't put a player in that position, mainly because [he]
just went through that," Boras said. "That was never an option."
Jones is a .263 career hitter with 368 home runs and 1,117 RBIs.
He was runner-up for the NL MVP award in 2005, when he had 51
homers and 128 RBIs. The following season he hit 41 home runs with
a career-high 129 RBIs.
He made $13.5 million this year, the final season of a five-year
contract. The Braves made no effort to re-sign him.
Jones' $18.1 million average salary trails only those of the
Yankees' Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million), Boston's Manny Ramirez
($20 million), the Yankees' Derek Jeter ($18.9 million), and the
Cubs' Carlos Zambrano ($18.3 million).
Adding Jones was the first major move for Los Angeles since
Torre replaced Grady Little as manager on Nov. 1. Jones will get a
chance to work with Don Mattingly, who followed Torre to the
Dodgers and became hitting coach.