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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

First Pitch: A Garrett Jones Trade Might Not Be a Guarantee

Throughout most of the off-season, it seemed inevitable that the Pittsburgh Pirates would trade Joel Hanrahan. There also seemed to be a strong possibility that Garrett Jones could be traded. In both cases we heard plenty of rumors about each player. Both players were due for a raise in arbitration. There was a good reason behind the idea of a trade for each player. But that didn’t mean they were both guaranteed to be traded.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe had an update on Jones recently.

The Red Sox and Pirates never got deep into discussions of first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones during the Joel Hanrahan trade talks because, according to a major league source, “The Pirates really valued Jones highly.” Jones seemed to be a good fit for the Sox.

A Hanrahan trade made sense. The Pirates didn’t have a history of paying closers. It could also be argued that a small market team spending 10% of their payroll on a closer is a bad strategy. It was hard to envision Hanrahan remaining on the team heading into the season.

Jones might not be a guarantee to be traded. - Photo by Mark Olson
Jones might not be a guarantee to be traded. – Photo by Mark Olson

A Jones trade also would make sense. He’s coming off a year where he hit for a .274/.317/.516 line with 27 homers in 475 at-bats. But that follows two almost identical years where he combined for a .245/.312/.422 line, with home run totals of 16 and 21. There’s a chance that he could be at his highest value right now, set to regress back to those 2010-11 numbers. There’s also the chance that he could repeat his 2012 numbers, which would make him a huge bargain at his projected $4.4 M salary. If that wasn’t a possibility, he wouldn’t have any trade value.

Don’t confuse Jones trade rumors with an idea that Jones is as good as gone. We’ve been hearing Jones trade rumors for a while, and each time the story is the same: the Pirates have a high value on Jones. The Angels tried to get him in 2010, and again in 2011. Each time the Pirates had a high value on Jones, either refusing to part with his power bat, or asking for a price that the Angels didn’t want to match. Earlier in the winter we heard that the Pirates asked for Taijuan Walker in a deal for Jones, but that they were rebuffed by Seattle.

For three years we’ve heard Jones in rumors. And for three years we’ve heard that the Pirates have a high value on Jones. This news from Cafardo is just more of what we’ve heard before. I said earlier in the off-season that I would be surprised if Joel Hanrahan was on the team on Opening Day. On a similar note, I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett Jones was on the team on Opening Day. When you consider the asking price for Jones, and you consider that the Pirates have been holding to their high value for three years, it doesn’t seem likely that a deal will happen. The only way a deal could happen is if the Pirates lowered their value, or another team met their price. Neither has happened in the last three years, and I’d be surprised at this point if either situation happened this off-season.

Links and Notes

**The 2013 Prospect Guide is now available. Go to the products page of the site and order your copy today!

**The eBook version of The 2013 Prospect Guide is also available through our publisher. They also have a discount code during the month of January that allows you to save 20%. Use the code JANBOOKS13 to get the discount. This code is only valid on the eBook on the publisher’s web site, and not the books on the products page of the site.

**Pirates Interested in Shaun Marcum.

**Pirates and Francisco Liriano Still Talking.

**Pirates Sign Australian Pitcher Nick Hutchings.

**Winter Leagues Recap: Welch Drives In Three.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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Any guesses on Mike Napoli’s price tag for 1 or 2 years? If reasonable, I suggested it may make sense to take a run at him, and re-visit a Jones trade with the Sox if they are bailing on Napoli and their options dwindle.

Oddly enough, Napoli’s splits as a RH are as high or higher against RHPs as most LH hitters, including the guys we would have in platoon-type roles at 1B (Jones) and at C (McKenry). He is, effectively, and ideal hitter lefty platoon against RHPs, who just happens to hit right-handed (Check out his splits the last two seasons – crazy, if he can come close to maintaining those). He can play 75% at 1B, and take a portion of ABs against righties at C.

Just a thought, unless you think he’s still going to pull down north of $10 mil/yr on a shorter term.

Not sure what’s reasonable from Sox for Jones – SS Iglesias? P Henry Owen? SS Deven Merrero? 2B Brock Holt? (wanted to make sure you were still listening….:-).

Is P Daniel Bard due? How about John Lackey and a lot of cash coming back? (his Bill James projections look (suspiciously) very good for next year – as do Bard’s – bet Sox would seize opportunity to kick in and move on (and the beer and chicken are cheaper in Pittsburgh, too.)


The only way I could see Jones leaving is in a big package deal or at the trade deadline if the Pirates are not doing well.
IMO, everyone on any team is trade worthy for the right price.


Now you are saying this:

“I said earlier in the off-season that I would be surprised if Joel Hanrahan was on the team on Opening Day. On a similar note, I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett Jones was on the team on Opening Day.”

Here’s what you wrote earllier:

” I don’t think it’s as inevitable as a Hanrahan trade, but I’d be surprised if the Pirates kept Jones.” (

Unless my comprehension is poor, you’ve taken the opposite stance with this post compared to where you were in the aftermath of the Hammer deal. Is that because two weeks have passed and you have a better read on the situation?


Going into the 2012 regular season, I would have thought that was Jones last year with the Pirates. His arb price was going to creep up and his production was on the border of justifying it. Then he had a very nice 2012 campaign. He was offered around to see what his value was and no one bit (Taijuan Walker from SEA).

Contingency plans like Sands and Robinson were brought in, which led many to believe Jones was on his way out. I think Tim is now re-reading the tea leaves and seeing that the chance of Jones being traded is much, much smaller than in December.

Personally, I put his trade chances at 15% throughout the off-season as that’s too much power to give up for a team that desperately needs to break .500 this year for all parties’ sakes.

Lee Young

John…I’m with you. I don’t see Sands and Robinson as Jones replacements.

And NH has denied every aspect of that T Walker/Jones trade rumor.


Brian Bernard

I think Garret Jones will have a high value on Garret Jones pretty soon, and then he’ll be gone with nothing to show for it.
Another missed opportunity by this too slow to act front office.


I don’t think they are slow to act at all, shopping takes time and it takes two to tango most of the time, the free agent list is not always a fit both money and or positions.

Lee Young

He’s staying until you can spell his first name correctly.

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