The Miami Marlins have reached an agreement with free-agent first baseman Garrett Jones on a two-year contract, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. The deal guarantees Jones $2.5 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015, coming to $7.5 million total.
The 32-year-old Jones spent much the last five seasons moving back and forth between right field and first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The lefty slugger was an everyday player back in 2010, but was (smartly) pushed into more of a platoon role over the last three years.
A Super-Two player, Jones earned $4.5 million last season and was set to make north of $5 million in his third year of arbitration with the Bucs this winter. Likely sensing that $5 million was a bit much for a platoon guy, Pittsburgh non-tendered Jones at the start of the month, making him a free agent.
Jones is a lifetime .271/.331/.489 hitter with 86 home runs in just over 2,000 trips to the plate against righties, but struggled against them in 2013 and put up just a 708 OPS overall on the year. His numbers against southpaws over his career are incredibly painful to look at -- 578 OPS in 528 PAs -- so the Marlins have to hope that his down year against righties is just a blip.
Just where Jones fits into the Marlins' current roster is somewhat of an enigma, as Miami already has two first baseman under contract in Logan Morrison and Greg Dobbs. The club has been looking to move Morrison for some time, so it could be that Jones' signing is a precursor to that happening. The Brewers, Rockies, Red Sox and Rays are all believed to be in the running to acquire Morrison.
If Morrison is dealt, platooning Jones and Dobbs would probably work really well but for the fact that they both bat left-handed. Dobbs' career numbers against southpaws (528 OPS) are even worse than Jones', so unless the Marlins find a righty bat to spell them, they may have some issues hitting lefties next year.
The addition of Jones likely means the Marlins aredone making additions to the right side of the infield. The club signed infielder Rafael Furcal to a one-year deal on Thursday to play second base for them, so they now have both positions covered.