Nationals interested in Andruw Jones
Gold Glover still unsure about where he will play next season
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals would like free agent Andruw Jones to be their center fielder in 2008. Would Jones like to be a member of the Nationals? All he would say is, he has not made any decisions about his future.
Jones has close relationships with Nationals bench coach Pat Corrales and team president Stan Kasten dating back to their days with the Braves, and, since the free-agency period began, the Nationals are considered one of the teams that have a shot at acquiring Jones' services.
"I have no decision right now. I'm really good friends with Pat Corrales, but that don't mean (anything). We'll see what happens," Jones said by phone on Thursday. "I'm a free agent. The teams that are interested in me will come and offer me a contract. I'm sure when (the Nationals) get their stuff together -- if they have me in their plans -- they will come and talk to my agent and see if they can get me over there."
Jones, 30, acknowledged that team president Stan Kasten went to his home in Atlanta recently, but the conversation had nothing to do with playing for the Nationals. The news of Kasten's visit was first reported by the Washington Post last Sunday night.
"He never told me he was interested in signing me. He just came by to say hello," Jones said. "He was in the neighborhood. He just got back in town. He came to see some hockey players that he knows out in my neighborhood. He just came and knocked on my door. He almost walked away when I went to the door. That was it. If they knock on my door, I'm not going to tell them to go away. I've known the guy for a while and I'm going to talk just like I'm talking with you right now."
To get Jones, the Nationals have to deal with Scott Boras, who is the most powerful agent in baseball and usually gets top dollar for his clients. Asked if Boras would dictate where he would go, Jones said, "I'm deciding where I'm going. Actually, he is going to go out get the best contract he can get for me, but I'm the one who decides where I'm going."
Jones is arguably one of the best center fielders in recent memory. He played 12 years for the Braves and hit .263 with 368 home runs and 1,117 RBIs. Jones also has won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves.
However, Jones ended up having one of his worst seasons in the big leagues in 2007, hitting .222, but he managed to hit 26 homers and drive in 94 runs. From June 22 to July 5, Jones' batting average was hovering below the Mendoza line.
There are people who believe that he was hurt all season. In fact, Jones played several weeks with a hyperextended elbow, but he declined to give any excuses on Thursday.
"I couldn't find my swing. Sometimes those things happen. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong," he said. "I have figured it out (now) and I just have to work on it.
"I was hurt, but I don't make excuses by injuries. Everybody gets injuries. I don't make excuses. That's not my style."
In the other news, Dave Jageler has agreed to terms on a new deal and will continue as one of the Nationals' radio play-by-play voices, according to baseball sources. Jageler's quick wit on the air has made him a popular figure in the D.C. area. Jageler was not available for comment.
There is no word if Jageler's partner, Charlie Slowes, has agreed to terms with the Nationals.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.