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11/09/07 Washington Nationals Team President Stan Kasten "Meets" With Andruw Jones?

          "'He never told me he was interested in signing me. He
          just came by to say hello...'"

                                           -Andruw "Free Agent" Jones

     The Andruw Jones quote above is from mlb.com's Washington Nationals writer Bill Ladson's article, "Nationals interested in Andruw Jones," at washington.nationals.mlb.com. In the article, Mr. Ladson recounts a visit Nationals Team President Stan Kasten payed to the free agent center fielder's Atlanta home.

     Kasten was President of the Atlanta Braves for the first seven years of Andruw Jones' career, and former Braves and current Nationals bench coach Pat Corrales has personal history with the soon-to-be thirty-one year old outfielder, but is that enough to make Andruw Jones accept an offer from a team that is generally believed to be two or three years away from competing?

     Barry Svrluga, in his article, "Nationals' President Meets With A. Jones," reminds Nationals fans that:

           "Most sources with intimate knowledge of the Nationals
           still believe that the team is more likely to try to improve
           through trades, and that the club's emphasis remains on
           scouting and player development."

     Andruw Jones is, of course, represented by Scott "Maximum" Boras, so in spite of the fact that A.Jones hit just .222 in his contract year, the All-Star, highlight-reel, far-ranging center fielder, who still managed to drive in 94 RBI's with 26 HR's, (...and 27 doubles out of his 127 hits), is looking for the biggest offer out there.

      mlb.com's Braves writer Mark Bowman wrote on the type of offers A.Jones might receive in his article entitled, "Mailbag: Will Andruw stay with Braves?" where, in response to a fan's question about Jones future in Atlanta, Mr. Bowman offered a comparison:

           "Vernon Wells, who is one year younger, recently signed a  
           seven-year, $126 million contract that will keep him in
           Toronto. Believe me, Jones' agent, Scott Boras, is
           determined to find somebody who will trump that deal,
           and I don't know if the Braves will be willing or able to do
           so."

     The Braves weren't willing, and A.Jones walked. Mr. Bowman writes that he wouldn't be surprised if the price for A.Jones climbed to $20 million-per, after all the Blue Jays signed Wells, who though a year younger, fails to match Andruw Jones' offensive output, posting a .281 average in 9 MLB seasons with Toronto, during which he's collected 236 doubles and 157 HR's with 581 RBI's.

     A.Jones' career numbers...12 seasons, .263 AVG, 330 doubles, 368 HR's, 1,117 RBI's...

      Someone is going to offer Andruw Jones $20 million. The Nationals 2007 payroll? $37 million...(OK, the salary was $ 37,347,500 to be exact.) The Nationals are likely to increase their payroll heading into the new stadium, but can the the team be expected to pay one player more than half of last year's entire team payroll, whether it be Andruw Jones, or another free agent like A-Rod? (And no, no one is saying A-Rod is coming to DC, though the Nationals could use a shortstop?)

     Quotes in both Mr. Ladson's and Mr. Svrluga's articles point to the true nature of Stan Kasten's "meeting" with Andruw Jones. Mr Svrluga writes that:

           "'Kasten has pledged to 'talk to everyone,' and Bowden
           said in an interview last week that the club is 'open-
           minded' to all possibilities."

      While Mr Ladson quotes Andruw Jones, who seems to downplay the significance of the "meeting" stating:

           "If they knock on my door, I'm not going to tell them to
           go away. I've known the guy(Kasten) for a while and I'm  
           going to talk just like I'm talking with you right now..."

      To me that doesn't sound like someone who thinks the Nationals are going to have $20 million a year...or maybe he just doesn't like people stopping by unannounced?

*Andruw Jones/Washington Nationals Links*

Bill Ladson's "Nationals interested in Andruw Jones" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071109&content_id=2296656&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Barry Svrluga's washingtonpost.com article, "Nationals' President Meets With A. Jones":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/05/AR2007110501694.html

mlb.com's Braves writer Mark Bowman's, "Mailbag: Will Andruw stay with Braves?" from atlanta.braves.mlb.com:

http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070114&content_id=1779125&vkey=news_atl &fext=.jsp&c_id=atl

ESPN.com article on Vernon Wells' deal:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2698288

Vernon Wells stats at baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/wellsve01.shtml

to compare with...

Andruw Jones' stats at baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/jonesan01.shtml

Washington Nationals team payroll history at usatoday.com:

http://asp.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/teamresults.aspx?team=24