Northside For Life

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Jaque Jones. Why?

The good news: It appears the Corey "Toolman" Patterson Era is over in Chicago.

The bad news: He was replaced by his mirror image, Jaque Jones. For 3 years and $16 mil no less.

What the hell Jim Hendry?

I've been behind Hendry despite the bad rap he gets from most Cub fans on the internet. But this move has me scratching my head. Unless he's got something up his sleeve and is going to get something of value for the Toolman. What that could be is anyones guess.

Seriously, who is Jaque Jones? A quick perusal of his stats for the last couple of seasons reveals this: BA hovering around .250, 20-something homeruns, 70-80 RBI's, an OBP in the mid .300's and over 100 strikeouts a year. It's pretty much the same type of numbers the Toolman brings to the table. Did I mention that the Cubs will be paying $5 milldoh a year for this? On the positive he has had seasons where he's hit above .300. The bad news is that was two years ago.

Let's see what the scouts say*:

Jones has tremendous bat speed that can drive a fastball a long way. In late 2003 and last spring, he looked like he was increasing his patience and selectivity at the plate, but often looked overeager during the summer. When he slumps, Jones tends to swing at virtually anything near the dish early in the count. He will get himself in a hole and his at-bats will last a matter of seconds. As his salary increases, he will need to improve in these areas to remain an everyday player for a good team. Greater patience would generate a better on-base percentage, as well as better power numbers, because he'd be swinging at better pitches to hit.

Funny, the same could be said about the Toolman.

A smart, aggressive baserunner, Jones isn't blindingly fast, but can steal the occasional base. He's one of the best-fielding corner outfielders in the game in terms of range, but continues to have trouble finding his release point on throws. One might fly to the backstop, and the next might roll to the cutoff man. His throws aren't consistent enough to play right field in many stadiums besides the Metrodome, which has a shallow right-field fence.

So the guy swings at everything and can't throw. It's bad enough we have a noodle-arm in center, now we have a guy who has a wild arm in right. Fantastic. Here's how the scouts projected him in 2005:

There's a lot of talent in Jones' body, and he has demonstrated the work ethic and attentiveness required to still improve. An emotional man, Jones could benefit from a more peaceful 2005. If he can combine his raw power and bat speed with a little more patience and a higher on-base percentage, he could become a borderline All-Star talent. If he doesn't progress, he could wind up platooning somewhere.

Well judging by his 2005 numbers, he didn't progress much. They were almost exactly the same as his '04 production. Yet he's not platooning anywhere. He's the new RF for the Chicago Cubs. Outstanding.

The silver lining in this is that Jones has demonstrated good work ethic and a desire to improve. The same has not been said of the Toolman. So maybe there is room for Jones to improve. Maybe he'll turn things around, cut down on the strikeouts and go back to hitting for better average.

I have my doubts.

*Scout analysis from ESPN


Post a Comment

<< Home