Saturday, May 9, 2009

Can the Rangers Play Andruw Jones Regularly?

One of the most under reported stories so far this season is the rapid improvement of Andruw Jones. Sure, Jones has only played part time. But in 47 at bats, Jones is hitting .340 with 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and a .500 on base percentage! Not to mention that Jones has walked 14 times already and is mashing both lefties and righties! While the sample size is very, very small; those numbers are mighty impressive and show how far Jones has come.

In 2008, Jones hit an anemic .158 and seemed to be on rapid decline. But 29 games into the season, Jones is showing that he still has something left and that the vast potential and talent he displayed is still present.

A potential problem lies ahead for Jones and the Rangers. Having too much depth is never a bad thing, but at what point will the Rangers decide to play Jones more? If he keeps up this pace or something similar, it will be tough to justify having Jones as a part time player.

However, is there any playing time out there for Jones? Sure he is a great option against left handed pitching as a DH, but it's going to be very hard for Ron Washington to guarantee any additional playing time for Jones given the Rangers outfield depth.

-David Murphy
-Marlon Byrd

-Josh Hamilton (coming off DL)

-Nelson Cruz
-Marlon Byrd

As you can see, there is just no room for Jones to get any playing time unless a injury occurs or if somebody struggles massively. David Murphy is not exactly tearing the cover off the ball, but I doubt the Rangers would give up on him in favor of Jones.

And that's a shame because I would love to see what Jones can do if he's given the full opportunity. For the Rangers sake, hopefully Andruw can keep this up for a number of reasons:

1. depth
2. production
3. trade bait

If the Rangers can somehow parlay Jones into some young pitching, I'm sure Jon Daniels would jump at the opportunity.

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