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2020 Diamondbacks Decisions: Adam Jones

The last of the free-agent class. Worth bringing back or not?

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Yoshihisa Hirano results

After a couple of squeakers in terms of results, Hirano received the most positive reaction in terms of a return, with almost three-quarters of the 248 respondents wanting to make him an offer. 72.2% agreed the D-backs should do so. But, as you’d probably expect, there was considerably less agreement over the length and price of the deal.

One year just managed to achieve a majority of the votes, with 51.7% of the selections. Most of the rest were for two years (40.0%), but for the first time in this poll, there was a slightly significant amount in favor of a longer contract. 3.9% went for three years, and some as long as five. All told, 8.3% voted to offer a deal for Hirano lasting longer than two seasons.

There was less agreement over the value of the contract. Each block from $1.5 million to $3.5 million received a double-digit percentage, peacking with $3 million, which snuck over the twenty percent mark, as shown above. However, the median offer (half above and half below) came in a little lower, at the $2.5 million level. Based on these responses, the SnakePit has spoken. Yoshihisa Hirano will be offered a one year deal, at $2.5 million, for the 2020 season.

Adam Jones

We move on to decide the fate of the final free-agent. Jones was a very late signing for the D-backs, not coming on board the team until well into spring training this year, on March 11. The initial plan seems to have been to use him as a fourth outfielder, as well as a contingency plan, in the event of Ketel Marte’s transition to center not working out too well. However, the season-ending injury to Steven Souza, just before the season began, changed the plan drastically. Jones was immediately thrown into an everyday role in right field, and started 117 games there, with just a single appearance in center.

The results weren’t great, even though Jones came to Arizona at a substantial discount, his guaranteed salary dropping from $17.3 million in his last year with Baltimore to $3 million for 2019 [there were $2 million in incentives; I’ve not been able to find details, but given his greater than expected playing-time, those were probably fairly significant]. His offense dropped, as you’d expect from a player who turned 34 during the season: Jones’s OPS sank to 87, the lowest since his sophomore season in 2008, though his HR and RBI totals actually increased, albeit marginally, over last year. The main issue, however, was his defense; this had been flagged by the SnakePit as an area of potential concern when Adam was signed.

Keegan wrote then, that Jones’s “defensive ability has taken a significant turn for the worst over the past three seasons... That 2018 [DRS] figure placed him as the third worst outfield defender in the league, and his cumulative total since 2016 is the worst among all outfielders.” He wasn’t quite as bad in 2019, but still came in at -4. Particularly of note, was his inability to make any more than the most routine of plays. Remember how I mentioned David Peralta going 0-for-22 on 4- and 5-star catch chances? Jones went 0-for-29. The four-time Gold Glover’s best days were clearly behind him. He was even only 4-for-10 at 3-star chances, which fielders are expected to make considerably more often than not.

As a result, Adam’s dWAR came in at -1.0, even though this was better than 2018’s figure of -2.3. It was still enough to push Jones’s overall value below replacement level for the first time in 14 major-league seasons. However, there’s no denying he was a positive influence in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse. Manager Torey Lovullo said, “He has just solidified things from a leadership standpoint and shown us what it takes to be a championship-style player. He has the unique ability to have fun and let loose outside of the white lines and then turn it on at 7 o’clock and say, ‘It’s game time. Let’s roll.’… You can tell that’s where his heart is. And I think the guys follow that.”

But is that enough to justify bringing Jones back? Below, you’ll find a quick three question survey with regard to that issue. The first question is as to whether or not he should be offered a contract at all, so it’s a straight Yes/No. If you answer Yes, move on to the second and third questions, which let you select a length and value for the offer. If you’re on mobile, or otherwise are having an issue, here’s the link.

Next up: to tender or not to tender? We’d better get those under way, with the non-tender deadline of December 2, growing increasingly close.