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BASEBALL

Dodgers to keep Andruw Jones at a distance

Sources say that the Dodgers considered trying to void Jones' contract and that the settlement includes a provision that they will not make future claims on him.

January 10, 2009|Bill Shaikin

The Dodgers considered trying to void Andruw Jones' contract before waiving any possible action as part of his contract restructuring, two high-ranking baseball sources told The Times.

The Dodgers agreed last week to trade or release Jones by Jan. 15 in exchange for his deferring much of the $22 million remaining on his contract.

The settlement includes a provision that the Dodgers will pursue no future claims against Jones, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been publicly disclosed.

Dodgers spokesman Charles Steinberg said Friday the team would not comment on legal matters. Scott Boras, the agent for Jones, said he could not comment, citing attorney-client privilege.

The provision sheds new light on the degree of the Dodgers' frustration with Jones, who signed a two-year, $36.2-million contract last winter, then reported to spring training significantly overweight.

The five-time All-Star batted .158 with three home runs in 75 games. He was often booed by fans, hampered by a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery and ultimately benched after the arrival of Manny Ramirez, who was brought in as the slugger the Dodgers had paid Jones to be.

According to the sources, the Dodgers suggested to the commissioner's office and the players' union that they explored their contractual right to terminate the deal of any player who "shall at any time fail, refuse or neglect . . . to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the club's training rules."

Such action would immediately have been contested by the players' union. The sources said they could not recall any instance of an arbitrator ruling that a player had to forfeit any part of a guaranteed contract under such circumstances.

Estes signs

Searching for candidates to fill out their starting rotation beyond Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers signed left-hander Shawn Estes to a minor league contract that could pay him as much as $1.55 million.

Estes, 35, was 2-3 with a 4.74 earned-run average in nine games for the San Diego Padres last season. He has pitched for every National League West club except the Dodgers.

He would get $550,000 if he makes the team in spring training, with various incentive bonuses for games started. If he starts 30 games, he would make the maximum $1 million in bonuses.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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