The Los Angeles Times is reporting tonight that the Dodgers have agreed to terms with Andruw Jones. According to the Times, the former Braves centerfielder has agreed to a 2-year $36 million contract.
First off, contrary to popular opinion, the Dodgers didn't "have to" do something. As I've pointed out on LAObserved before, teams such as the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Indians were successful last year without going for high-priced free agents. Instead they relied on player development and building from within. The Dodgers have an excellent farm system, and they already had a team in place that could compete for the pennant.
That being said, Andruw Jones makes the Dodgers a better team. While he has had some erratic seasons over his career, the body of Jones' work has been very good. He's a legit power bat, who plays fantastic defense in centerfield. I'm almost impressed that the Dodgers were able to get Jones to sign just a two-year contract. Given his disappointing 2007 season, the last thing the Dodgers would want is a long-term contract that could prove to be a mistake. Yet, despite having Scott Boras as an agent, Jones wound up agreeing to a shorter-term commitment (although, it's hard to feel bad for a guy making $18 million a year).
The real question now for the Dodgers is what this does to Juan Pierre. Will Pierre shift over to left field? Will the Dodgers trade Pierre and start both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier? Many in Los Angeles have been frustrated with Pierre's poor on-base percentage and subpar defense. So why not complement Jones in the outfield with two excellent young players in Kemp and Ethier? That part of the equation remains to be seen. But what will be seen is an improved Dodger offense in 2008. They got that power bat they've wanted for so long.