Let’s just be real, Garrett Jones has been awful this season. The Pittsburgh Pirates came into this season with high expectations for Jones, especially with him coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 27 home runs. However, he is 32 years old now, so his performance should have been expected to decline a bit, but I don’t think anyone saw this bad of a drop off coming.
I thought the Pirates would have been smart to trade Jones before the season started; his value was never going to be higher. With small market teams like the Pirates, selling high on players is a great way to sustain success for several years, by being able to reload the roster with new talent.
Jones hasn’t even been above replacement level in 2013. Jones’ WAR this season is -0.5 according to FanGraphs. He is a below average defensive player and base runner, and he isn’t even hitting. In 386 plate appearances, Jones has a .239/.295/.409 slash line with just 11 home runs. Jones is only valuable to any team because of one thing usually: home runs. He isn’t even leaving the yard very often this season, with just 11. He is currently platooning at first base with Gaby Sanchez, with Jones hitting against right-handed pitchers and Sanchez hitting against lefties. Sanchez is doing his part in the platoon, with a .296/.418/.531 slash line against southpaws. Jones, however, is hitting only .249/.305/.428 against right-handed pitching. So the question becomes, what should happen to Jones? Should the Pirates hope he can get hot at some point down the stretch, or should they find a replacement?
Personally, I think they should find a replacement. Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins would be a great option to replace Jones in the platoon. The worrisome thing about Jones is that he isn’t getting better, he’s actually getting worse. In the first half of the season, he hit for a .253/.302/.419 slash line, but in the second half, he has a .195/.276/.379 line. A lot of it appears to be luck, however. In the first half, Jones had a BABIP of .309; in the second half it is only .219. He is also walking more and striking out less in the second half, meaning he is probably having better at-bats recently than the numbers indicate.
All I know for sure, is that if the Pirates want to win the National League Central division, they need Jones to get hot. His bat and home run hitting abilities are valuable, he just needs to find a way to start hitting. If he doesn’t get hot soon, the Pirates must find a replacement.