A brief moment to discuss the ineptness of the Jones call-up
In part because of that, manager John McLaren has talked to Jones about the possibility of playing winter baseball.
Jones wasn’t a huge fan of the idea last year – when he also spent huge amounts of time on the Seattle bench down the stretch – but McLaren says the outfielder has been receptive to the idea, although nothing has been finalized.
Jones was ready to help the team in May. However, there’s no place on the team for him, because
a) he’s not a veteran
b) the team’s winning so they refuse to make moves to make themselves better, hence
c) they’re unwilling to find ways to get him playing time, so
d) he doesn’t get playing time, exacerbating his defensive problems because he’s almost never playing
e) even in mop-up games
If Jones had come up and hit .900 with good power, no doubt they’d be finding a way to get him more playing time, because he’d be helping the team. But because he’s barely over .200, they’re finding ways to keep him on the bench, even though his skills are exactly the same as if he’d started hot. He would still help the team, and there are still ways to get him time.
There’s no reason, none at all, to believe that Jones, who proved there was nothing left for him to learn in Tacoma, and proved it to everyone who saw him or could read a statline, suddenly forgot how to field, forgot how to hit.
Every other team with a prospect of Jones’s value called their guys up, most of them much, much earlier, and found ways to get them into the lineup to help them.
That the M’s are still unable to figure out how to get Jones playing time with a roster that provides such clear, obvious opportunities to get Jones playing time — and that their solution to this is not to get smarter, or more flexible, or even more persuasive in making the case to Ibanez/Vidro/whoever that a regular outfield rotation’s a good thing, but to send Jones to winter ball, where he’ll face competition far, far below what he would be stomping in Tacoma — is a pretty stunning indictment of the club’s inability to do a reasonable job looking at the whole roster, and to put the best team on the field every day.
They didn’t call Jones up because they thought he would hurt the team. For that moment, at least, they saw a way to make the team better, and then they chickened out.
Update: Ibanez has only started in three games by my count against lefties, 2 against Danks and one against Santana, and went .250 (3-12) with a walk, a HBP, and a double. Not facing lefties has been a big part of Ibanez’s performance this month. So far this year, Ibanez has been hitting .267/.297/.351 against lefties.