Dodgers, Jones strike deal to part ways
Veteran outfielder will be released or traded before Spring Training
LOS ANGELES -- Andruw Jones and the Dodgers have reached an agreement to defer much of his remaining salary while virtually assuring he will not be with the club in 2009.Jones will either be traded or released before the start of Spring Training and perhaps sometime this month, according to an industry source. The agreement will allow Jones a fresh start elsewhere after a nightmare of a first season and provide the Dodgers with additional payroll flexibility that could be used to re-sign free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez. The Major League Baseball Players Association approved the unusual agreement because Jones will receive his entire salary, as well as the possible benefit of free agency should he be released. Jones is owed about $21.1 million from a back-loaded two-year contract. Instead of paying that total amount this year, the agreement spreads out the Dodgers' payments for as many as six years. The amount deferred could be as much as $12 million. Before Jones left the club during its 2008 division-title run in September, he told teammates he did not want to return to Los Angeles for the final year of a $36.2 million contract signed in December 2007 and would waive his no-trade protection. Jones is represented by Scott Boras, who is also the agent for Ramirez. Negotiations between Boras and the Dodgers for Ramirez resumed this week. Ramirez is seeking a four- or five-year deal, while the Dodgers' offer of two years and $45 million plus an option was ignored by Ramirez and withdrawn by the club six weeks ago. Reports from San Francisco indicate the Giants, benefiting from a partial interest in a regional sports network, either have or will make an offer for Ramirez. The Angels, although they declared themselves out of the Ramirez chase, are rumored to be reconsidering.
There appeared to be little interest for Ramirez during the past two months. But since Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees, Ramirez has become the most potent consolation prize to teams Teixeira spurned, the Angels among them.The departures of 16 free agents have allowed the Dodgers to shed nearly $50 million from last year's payroll to this point, not counting whatever the club defers from Jones' salary.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.