With Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson both left-handed hitters, New York could use Jones much as it did Marcus Thames in 2010. Thames' bat was a nice surprise for the Yankees, but they had concerns about his defense, an area where Jones should represent an improvement.
A 10-time NL Gold Glove Award winner during his best seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Jones spent 2010 with the Chicago White Sox, his fourth Major League team and third in the last three years.
Jones batted .230 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs in 107 games for the White Sox, playing all three outfield positions.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday in New York, where the Yankees introduced reliever Rafael Soriano, agent Scott Boras said that Jones' goal is to return to his former status as an everyday outfielder, but he understands that is not likely under his current situation.
"I think at this point, he's going to have to prove himself in the Major Leagues to get that," Boras said. "Right now, the opportunities that are available to him are more in the realm of being a guy that can play all three outfield positions and be a fourth outfielder."
Boras added that White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker was especially encouraged by the last six weeks of Jones' service in Chicago, when he batted .375 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 60 plate appearances.
Many Yankees fans will likely remember Jones from his grand entrance onto the baseball stage as a 19-year-old rookie, blasting two home runs in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series to supplant Mickey Mantle as the youngest player to homer in a Fall Classic.
In a 15-year career with the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers and the White Sox, Jones is a .256 lifetime hitter in 2,025 Major League games, slugging 407 home runs and collecting 1,222 RBIs.
Jones' best season came with Atlanta in 2005, when he led the NL with 51 home runs and 128 RBIs, finishing second in the NL MVP balloting to Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.
Boras also said on Wednesday that there continues to be a market for Johnny Damon, a free agent whom the Yankees also had some level of interest in for a return. But with Gardner and Granderson in place, Jones simply made more sense as an addition.