NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones is set to give the Los Angeles Dodgers the dangerous slugger they sorely need.
Now, they hope he bounces back from a miserable season.
Jones and the Dodgers reached a preliminary agreement on a $36.2 million, two-year contract late Wednesday as action picked up on the final night of the winter meetings. The deal came hours after Detroit and Florida finished their blockbuster trade that sent All-Stars Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the go-for-broke Tigers.
A winner of 10 consecutive Gold Gloves with Atlanta, Jones must pass a physical for the agreement to be completed. The deal would give him the fifth-highest average salary in the major leagues.
"We're thrilled we've got a player of his caliber. We've been looking for somebody to hit in the middle of the order and also somebody who plays great defense," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Thursday. "His desire to be in LA was a huge component of this."
Colletti said Jones likely will undergo a physical Tuesday in Los Angeles.
"Being on a competitive team was a very, very important part of his process," Scott Boras, Jones' agent, said.
Jones is the first major addition for the Dodgers since they hired Joe Torre as manager. Los Angeles ranked 15th out of 16 NL teams in home runs this season with 129.
Jones met a few weeks ago in Los Angeles with Colletti, Torre and owner Frank McCourt. A day or two later, Colletti started talking contract with Boras.
"I thought at that point in time our chances were at zero," Colletti said.
Talks reopened Monday, and Boras was willing to consider a more short-term deal.
A five-time All-Star, Jones hit .222 for the Braves this year, his lowest average since he batted .217 in 106 at-bats as a rookie in 1996. His 26 homers were his fewest since 1997.