Garrett Jones has had flashes of brilliance during his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jones’ value was never going to be higher than it was before this season started; he hit .274/.317/.516 with 27 home runs and a 123 wRC+. With that being said, the Pirates would have been wise to trade Jones before the season even started. Now the Pirates are going to end up letting him enter free agency without getting anything in return. This year was a struggle for Jones; he had a -0.2 fWAR and was below average offensively and defensively.
Some of the high points of Jones’ Pirates career were his rookie season, his 2012 season and hitting a home run into the Allegheny River outside of PNC Park on the fly. Jones was just the second player ever to hit a home run into the Allegheny River without the ball bouncing in. Jones’ rookie season was a very good one; in only 358 plate appearances, he hit .293/.372/.567 with 21 home runs and a 2.7 fWAR. He played only half the season and received several National League Rookie of the Year votes.
Even though Jones has had a few productive seasons for the Pirates, the likelihood of them offering him arbitration seems pretty low. He is due to make more than the $4.5 million he made this season, and with the way he played he just isn’t worth the money it will take to bring him back.
The Pirates will have plenty of payroll flexibility to upgrade their roster in the offseason, especially if they make a deep run into the postseason or possibly even win the World Series. Upgrading first base should be the main priority this offseason for the Pirates, whether it be via trade or free agency.