It seems Jacque Jones isn't happy and wants to be traded, and why not? He gets hate mail and a new no nonsense manager has taken over the club. I'm certainly not in favor of a disgruntled player in my clubhouse, but I'm also not in favor of the tail wagging the dog.
Does this mean that Pinella and Jones will be unable to co-exist? It's to early to tell, but Pinella has a wealth of experience as a player and a manager in dealing with disgruntled teammates and players. One of the reasons the Cubs hired Pinella, was because of his experience and one of his main jobs as manager, is to get the most out of his players.
The main question for the Cubs as an organization is, can they get value in a trade of Jones, that fills another need they have?
As it stands presently, the Cubs outfield is likely to be, Murton in LF, Jones in CF and Soriano in RF. While some might claim they should wear their batting helmets in the outfield, I believe they may actually be superior defensively to last year. Here is why.
Murton is certainly not a gold glove left fielder, but he has shown improvement in the least demanding defensive outfield position.
Soriano although still new to the outfield, has a cannon for an arm and that is one of the keys to being an effective right fielder.
Jones came up in the Twins organization as a center fielder, and only the ascension of Tori Hunter prompted the Twins to move Jones to a corner outfield spot.
When you compare Jones and Pierre's range in center field, the small loss of range with Jones will be somewhat offset by the speed of Soriano in right field. Neither Jones or Pierre could throw worth a damn, so the outfield defense is a likely push and could possibly be a little better, with Soriano's gun in right field keeping base runners from easily advancing first to third. From the offensive side, the main reason we acquired Pierre was to be a lead off man and that was a bust. With Jones power numbers, he should boost the offensive production from center field.
How does this translate into value for prospective trading partners? Well the $5 million Jones contract is now considered below market value, but that doesn't mean the Cubs will receive fair value by trading him. Presently, Jones is of more value to the Cubs than he is to the rest of baseball, but that could change. How?
By showcasing Jones in center field, he'll have more value later in the season.
Could the Cubs use a Kenny Lofton? Of course, but rumors have it he is close to a deal with the Rangers.
Could the Cubs land a Rocco Baldelli to play center field? Well with the D-Rays past of asking for the moon when teams have inquired about their young position players, it seems unlikely the Cubs could or should part with the little minor league talent they have left to acquire him.
Ryan Church's name has been rumored in a trade, but as stated with a trade for Baldelli, what youngsters would the Nationals want and could you include Jones in the trade to acquire Church.
Any trade or acquisition of a center fielder for any other purpose than as a bench player, ie; Steve Finley, would only take at bats away from Murton by Jones, and do nothing to enhance Jones value in a trade.
If in fact the Cubs can get equal value from a Jones trade before spring training then fine. If not, keeping him to play center field certainly won't hurt his trade value by the time Pie eventually comes up.