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Jones Defers $12 Million to Leave L.A.

Some people are made for California. Others are made to be consumed by the sense of self idolatry and myopia that can run rampant in Los Angeles. Now we know that outfielder Andruw Jones can be squarely slotted into that second group.

Jones signed off on a deal to defer $12 million of his 2009 salary to later years this afternoon, a move that became official when MLB Players Association officials signed off on it earlier this evening. According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, one of the stipulations of the agreement is that Jones will be traded or released before the start of spring training.

The monetary deferral is a rare move in baseball, yet it's not completely unprecedented. When the Mets released Bobby Bonilla during his second tour with the team in 2000, they agreed to a deferral of the remaining $5.9 million on his contract, paving the way for him to sign with the Braves.

There are plenty of reasons for this move, and plenty of motivation of Jones' agent, Scott Boras, to push for it. Paramount among them, of course, is that he represents Manny Ramirez, who the Dodgers openly covet and need to free up money for. In essence, Boras just pushed payment to one of his clients down the road a few years so his other client can get more money now, and so that Jones, the struggling half of the two sluggers, can move on in an effort to re-establish market value before he becomes a free agent after the 2009 season.

It's definitely one of the more unique contractual moves of the offseason, even if it isn't the most significant ... yet. Now, where will Jones end up? The Mets talked with the Dodgers about him earlier this offseason, so they're presumed to be the leaders of any potential Jones chase.

But what about teams willing to take a chance. Yes, that's a poor euphemism for the Nats, folks. Say Washington misses out on Milton Bradley, as Chico says they're all but certain to. Could Jim Bowden make a run at Jones and hope he finds his stroke back on the East Coast? There's always a chance, particularly since the Dodgers would likely eat a significant majority of his remaining contract and likely would ask for very little in return. If the Nats somehow snare Bradley from out under the Cubs' grasp, would Chicago take a shot at Jones? You never know. Whenever a player puts up the kind of numbers that Jones did, then falls off the table like he has the past two years, there's absolutely no framework for determining his value.

By Cameron Smith  |  January 2, 2009; 9:13 PM ET
Categories:  Cubs , Dodgers , Mets , Nationals  
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