The headline on my Yahoo! home page today read Jermaine Dye headed to Yanks' left field?. This was posted under KC Royals news, and it made me wonder why Jermaine has received so little love over the years. I remember he and Andruw Jones coming up together in '96, and I thought the Braves were 2/3 set in the OF for the next 10 years. The Braves kept Jones and he was universally lauded as a great player, but Dye was traded for bit players several times before signing for 4M as a free agent with the White Sox. All he did was play a great RF on a team that won it all. Oh, and he was the Series MVP to boot. Meanwhile, Andruw has fallen off the table and is hanging on down in Texas. So how do the two careers compare these 13 years later?
Jones had some monster years for some good ATL teams while Dye hit a mid-career slump in Oakland. He wasn't terrible in Oakland, but he definitely should have done better. He was injured in '03 and put up a decent but sub-par for him .793 OPS in '04. Before and after his A's years, Jermaine quietly put together some of the better numbers in the league. His 2000 campaign in KC and 2006 in Chicago were as good as anything Jones ever did.
OK, Jones hit 51 HR's and drove in 128, following that up with 41/129 in '05 and '06, and he did it on the national stage thanks to TBS. He won the GG 11 years running and won ROY. He hit HR's in the World Series when he was 19. These kinds of things get the average fan's attention.
Meanwhile, Jermaine soldiered on. He endured the ignominy of being, in effect, traded for Neifi Perez and then this trio of world beaters, Todd Belitz, Mario Encarnacion and Jose Ortiz, in one day. He is 3 years older than Jones, but I think you'd have to say he is the better player at this point. You don't see the Yankees looking at Jones to plug LF for a year now, do you? And still, if you ask the average fan, I'll bet they'd (A) know who Jones is and (B) tell you he's a better player than Dye.
So what does Baseball Reference have to say about this? Both were fairly consistent .800-.900 OPS hitters. From what I remember, Jones was a great CF for a while, but his reputation carried him for a few years after he started to fall off. Dye was a very good RF until the last few years. The real surprise came when I looked at the career triple slashes.
OPS+? Jones 110, Dye 111.
I'll leave it to you guys to break down the more arcane stats, but it appears Jermaine was at least as good as Andruw, and he did it in a superior league. I've always wondered what might have been in Atlanta if they'd kept both of them. I'm pretty sure they'd have been better off, and I'm pretty sure Schuerholz more than once wondered WTF he was thinking when he sent Dye to KC for Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart. Dye must wonder, too. Maybe he'll finally get some respect as the LF on a world champion in NY. I'd hate to see the Yankees win again, but I'd like to see Dye get more appreciation around the country. Maybe this is what it will take to do it.