As five-time All-Star outfielder for the New York Yankees, Andruw Jones has signed a contract to play baseball in Japan with the Rakuten Eagles. At 35 years old, Jones became a free agent after his last two seasons with New York. The $3.5 million deal will see him playing with the Eagles, of Japan’s Pacific League, for one year.
While Jones played in 94 games this year as a part-time player, he use be one of the big leagues’ top players. He entered the MLB in 1996, playing with the Atlanta Braves, and went on to win ten consecutive Gold Gloves from 1998 to 2007 while playing as center fielder. After 17 years in the majors, Jones has 434 career home runs, more of which the Rakuten Eagles need after ending their last season with only 52 homers, the fewest in Japan.
It seems playing in Japan is expected to be Jones’ final arc of his career. Nearly all of his accomplishments came before his 30th birthday, and since then he has been seen as only a fraction of what he was capable of. A $3.5 million contract is much more than what he would have got trying to play baseball in the U.S. in 2013, especially since he has been limited to role player status, only hanging around by his former glory.
[via Call to the Pen]