This might not be the biggest shock of the offseason, but it sure caught me offguard: Andruw Jones has signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Pro Baseball for 300 million yen, which equates to about $3.6 million in US dollars. Jones spent the last two seasons with the Yankees, serving primarily as a bench player seeing time at DH and in left field.
Once an elite defensive center fielder with the Braves, Jones' defense (and offense) has nosedived since leaving Atlanta after the 2007 season. He signed a two-year contract with the Dodgers that was a disaster for both parties before moving on to the Rangers in 2009 and the White Sox in 2010 before latching on with the Yankees, not serving as an everyday player in any stop along the way.
Jones will be 36 in April, and this looks like a last hurrah for a player who was having a Hall of Fame level career through his first decade in baseball. Then, the last five years happened, and Jones's star didn't just dim, it went out. Jones actually might be a good fit in Japan, thriving in a way that several fringe big leaguers with lots of power have in the past. Jones is currently the only foreign player on Rakuten after they released all of their non-Japanese players this offseason, and they're reportedly also interested in Manny Ramirez, another player whose starpower has taken a huge hit in recent seasons, but could experience a rebirth in the Land of the Rising Sun.