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Dodgers' deal with Andruw Jones approved by MLB

January 3, 2009 | 12:30 pm

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The baseball commissioner's office has approved the contract revision that paves the way for Andruw Jones to leave the Dodgers, MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred told The Times today.

The Dodgers agreed to trade or release Jones before spring training in exchange for his agreeing to defer much of the $22 million remaining on his contract.

The Dodgers will solicit offers for Jones in the hope that a team might take him at his newly discounted salary of about $5 million. ESPN's Buster Olney suggests that the Braves, Reds and Mets might be interested, although a baseball source told The Times that teams might decide to wait for Jones' release, knowing that the Dodgers have agreed to let him go if they cannot trade him. In that case, whatever team signs him would be obligated to pay only the minimum $400,000 salary, with the Dodgers responsible for the balance.

In that case, Olney suggested, the Padres could be interested. If the Dodgers release him, Jones can pick the team he believes will provide him the most playing time and best chance to showcase himself before free agency next fall.

He hit .158 with three home runs in 75 games for the Dodgers last year, and his winter ball performance does not figure to sway any teams toward Jones' argument that his knee injury was his biggest problem last year. He went hitless in five at-bats for Aguilas on Friday, lowering his batting average in the Dominican winter league to .091.

The players association also has approved the deal, according to mlb.com.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Andruw Jones heads to first base after a run-scoring single in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants on July 28. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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