Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jones and Soriano want Pie to play

Great article in the suntimes-

Jones has been through criticism, trade talk before
April 19, 2007
BY GORDON WITTENMYER ATLANTA -- Whether it's handwriting on the wall or random graffiti, Jacque Jones can see it.
One day after Cubs manager Lou Piniella switched Jones from right to left field, top prospect Felix Pie was in the majors to fill in for injured center fielder Alfonso Soriano -- and speculation started swirling about the often-criticized Jones.
''I'm just playing,'' Jones said. ''But you think about it because when [Soriano] comes back and Pie stays here, there's going to be three of us in right field.
''I just go out and play. That's all I can do.''
Jones was referring to Soriano saying Wednesday that he's willing to move back to left to accommodate Pie if the rookie plays well enough to stick with the Cubs when Soriano returns to the lineup, possibly this weekend.
That would mean another round of trade rumors involving Jones, who is in the middle year of a three-year, $16 million deal.
''It gets tiring,'' he said. ''But I don't let it bother me. I'm used to it.''
Jones, who will turn 32 next Wednesday, never has been traded in his career despite being the subject of continual rumors with the Minnesota Twins and Cubs the last four seasons. He has survived the emergence of hot-shot outfield prospects before and will receive another reprieve -- from the speculation at least -- if Pie can't handle this opportunity. But that hasn't crossed his mind, he said.
''No, I want him to play well,'' Jones said. ''He needs to play here. He deserves to play here. I'm pulling for him to play well because, shoot, he doesn't have anything left to prove at Triple-A. I'm pulling for him.''
After hitting .285 with 27 home runs and 81 RBI last season, Jones entered the game Wednesday at .235 without a homer. He went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .255.
''I never worry about myself,'' he said. ''I thought I had a pretty good year last year. And I know at the end of the year, I'll be somewhere around that again.''
If anything, his ability to move freely from left to right and even play center, as well as being a left-handed .280 career hitter with decent power, should make Jones a valuable, movable piece of the roster. Instead, he seems to be treated as a player who doesn't do enough in a given facet in a given day or week.
Whether the Cubs' rough start exacerbates the individual criticism and speculation on his future, ''you never know,'' Jones said. ''It's just something that I deal with, learn to deal with.
''But I always have to go out and play and put up numbers. It's no different than having to do it before.''

Let me first start by saying that this is a class act by Jones and Soriano. Both pulling for the guy and Soriano( 136 million dollar man) saying he would move to left field for Pie. You really dont hear that everyday. I love seeing Pie in center, he has phemonenal defensive skills and he is good with the bat. When Soriano gets back lets hope the cubs do the right thing and keep Pie in center and put Soriano in LF. I think it would be best for both of them. I also think Soriano is concentrating to much out in CF and that explains some of his struggles at the plate, by moving him back to LF( where he has a year of experience) you get him more comfortable and possibly could get his bat going.
Now if Pie stays up then one of three things could happen.

1. The cubs trade Jones. I personally like JJ, but if I had to pick between him staying and Pie going to Iowa, I would have to say goodbye to Jones.

2. Murton is sent to AAA or traded. Don't act so surprised, Lou has came out and said that Floyd would get the majority of the playing time in the outfield and he hasn't show much favoritism toward Murton. Off course you cant show what you can do in limited playing time. By sending him down or trading him you have 3 leftys and 1 righty that could start in the outfield. Combinations out there would be interesting but I don't see this happening but it still could.

3. You could see Soriano come back and Murton, Floyd, Jones, and Pie all stay too. It doesn't make much sense unless you look at it as a trial basis, and wait and see if anyone gets traded. Have players shuffle in and out in the outfield until one of them gets dealt. Meanwhile to make room for all 5 outfielders you would have to option someone to AAA, like Ohman or Cedeno for example.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. We could know an answer as soon as this weekend!

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