The Gold Glove center fielder and the Dodgers reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday night on a $36.2 million, two-year contract that gives him the fifth-highest average salary in the major leagues.
Jones, the former Atlanta star who has won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, is coming off one of the worst offensive seasons of his career. But if he rebounds, he could give the Dodgers a desperately needed boost in the middle of the lineup.
Jones must pass a physical for the agreement to be completed, and likely will take the exam Tuesday. His $18.1 million average salary trails only those of the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million), Boston's Manny Ramirez ($20 million), the Yankees' Derek Jeter ($18.9 million), and the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano ($18.3 million).
"They were reluctant at first to do something of that length," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Thursday. "To me it's not always the dollars attached to the contract as much as it is the years attached to the contract."
A five-time All-Star, Jones will receive a $12.2 million signing bonus, of which $5.1 million is payable next year, $2.1 million in 2009 and $5 million in 2010. He will get salaries of $9 million next year and $15 million in 2009, and also will receive a no-trade clause.
His agreement with the Dodgers was first reported by the Los Angeles Times on its Web site.
"The owner, Frank McCourt, had a lot to do with Andruw's decision," Jones' agent, Scott Boras said. "Frank McCourt did a great job of illustrating to Andruw that if he repeated his performance and played to the levels he played to in the past, they had the wherewithal to keep him."
Jones hit .222 this season, his lowest average since he batted .217 in 106 at-bats as a rookie in 1996. His 26 home runs were his fewest since 1997. He drove in 94 runs, but finished with a .311 on-base percentage. The Braves made no effort to re-sign him.
THE CONTRACT: Andruw Jones' $32.5 million, two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers would include:
- $12.2 million signing bonus ($12.2 million in 2008; $5.1 million in 2009; and $5 million in 2010)
- $9 million salary in 2008
- $15 million salary in 2009
- No-trade clause
HIGH ROLLER: Jones' $18.1 million average salary trails only those of the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million), Boston's Manny Ramirez ($20 million), the Yankees' Derek Jeter ($18.9 million), and the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano ($18.3 million).
Mets signed Carlos Beltran -- seven years, $119 million
Blue Jays re-signed Vernon Wells -- seven years, $126 million
Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano -- eight years, $136 million
Angels signed Torii Hunter -- five years, $90 million
Mariners re-signed Ichiro Suzuki -- five years, $90 million