When I saw the article header on ESPN.com "Twins sign Jones, Invite him to Spring Training" the wheels started spinning in my head: "Who could this Jones be?" My very first though was Andruw, but I know he signed with the White Sox already. Then I thought either Doug or Todd, but Doug retired in 2000 and although Todd retired in the last couple of years, I figured he must be trying to make a comeback. I was pretty sure it was him.
I never even considered Jacque Jones, which is weird, because I had heard or read somewhere recently that he was looking to make a comeback. So here we are: Jacque back in a Twins' uniform, even if only for Spring Training. How weird.
I can't even decide how I feel. On the one hand, I remember watching him and how much fun he always looked like he was having, and how fun that made him to watch. Plus, in the book "Fantasy Land" (which I highly recommend), the author spends a good amount of time detailing a couple of conversations he had with Jacque, and he comes off as every bit the good, fun, upbeat, positive guy he seemed when watching him all those years. I liked Jacque Jones. On the other hand, he wasn't all that great a ball player, posting above average numbers just three times in his career, and posted some downright awful numbers in his short Detroit and Florida stints in 2008 - the last time he played an MLB regular season game. He also hit just .089 in Spring Training last year for the Reds before being cut and signing with the Newark Bears where he got to play with Carl Everett and Tim Raines's sucky kid.
So, yeah, he probably won't make the team, but I'm rooting for him. I'm going to look at his 10% walk rate in 2008 - nearly double his career number - and hope he learned pitch selection and plate patience. I'm going to look at his .147 average that year and ascribe it to bad luck and a poor BABIP of just .180. I'm going to hope he's still a good outfielder. And hey, he's only 34 and has said he is willing to play at AAA if need be, and he was signed to just a minor-league deal, so he should have pretty much every opportunity to stick around.
Good luck, Jacque.