Serious talks for Andruw Jones commenced Nov. 19, the day Jones' agent, Scott Boras, said he and associate Mike Fiore met with Colletti and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt at Dodger Stadium. The group met again at the ballpark Nov. 25, this time with Jones and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre in attendance.
Boras said he had in mind a seven-year deal and Colletti admitted that upon hearing his demands, he thought he had no chance of signing Jones.
But Jones was impressed with what McCourt told him, according to Boras. The agent said that while no promises were made, McCourt said he would look at signing Jones to a long-term extension if he performed the way he had in past seasons.
"The owner showed a willingness to commit to him long term," Boras said.
The Dodgers' contingent also shared their willingness to add pitching to ensure the team would be competitive. Shortstop Rafael Furcal, a former teammate with the Braves, later called Jones and told him about the team and the city, Boras said.
Furthermore, Boras said that most of the teams that contacted him about Jones wanted to sign his client to a mid-range deal in the neighborhood of four years. Jones wanted either a long-term deal that would provide security or something short that would allow him to re-enter the free-agent market in the relatively near future.
Colletti said the two sides "bridged a huge gap" on the first day of the winter meetings Monday, as Boras said he informed the general manager that Jones would be willing to explore a shorter contract. Boras said Jones told him of his decision to sign with the Dodgers on a conference call Wednesday evening.
Jones' deal will pay him a $12.2-million signing bonus, which will be paid over three years -- $5.1 million next season, $2.1 million in 2009 and $5 million in 2010. He will earn a base salary of $9 million in 2008 and $15 million in 2009.
The deal is pending a physical, which Boras said Jones would probably take Tuesday or Wednesday. Jones is home in his native Curacao.
Jones' numbers have declined over the last few years -- he hit 51 home runs in 2005, then 41 and 26 in the subsequent seasons, but Colletti said he has no worries that Jones could be named in the upcoming Mitchell report.
Colletti said he never met face-to-face with the other free-agent center fielder he was targeting, Aaron Rowand.