Twins’ task simpler with Hawkins gone

The Minneapolis paper speculates that the Braves might be interested in Jacque Jones for right field. They also mention the Braves’ interest in Doug Misprint, but would need “a major-league-ready first baseman” for him. In other words, give them LaRoche, who will produce like Misprint for one-tenth the salary. Or less. Yeah, right.

Jacque Jones is another Jordan-type, a guy who hits for a high average and medium-range power, but who puts a limited number of runs on the board because of low walk numbers and injuries. He was really good in 2002 (setting career highs in homers, doubles, on-base, and slugging) but regressed last year. Though the Star-Tribune says that Jones has “fielding range” his range factors (mostly as a left fielder) are only average, and he’s not generally considered to have a right fielder’s arm. At 29, he’s probably seen his best years; he’s also in his arbitration years and looking for a sizeable raise from $2.75 million in 2003. All that said, the Braves have looked at worse options, but I wouldn’t give up a top pitching prospect unless absolutely necessary.

The Yankees still haven’t formalized things with Sheffield. There’s speculation that they’re holding off until after the arbitration deadline, hoping that the Braves won’t risk going to arbitration even if it’s 99 percent sure that the Yankees will make the deal. The other explanation is that Sheffield now wants a fourth year — which would cover him until he’s 39. Sheesh.