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Boras says Jones not surprised by decision

ATLANTA - He had tried not to think about it. Even in his final days with the Braves, Andruw Jones wasn't saying his goodbyes. There was still a slim chance, it seemed, he wouldn't need to.

But by the time Atlanta's season ended Sunday in Houston, Jones knew what was coming. His agent, Scott Boras, said Jones was not surprised by the team's decision to cut ties with him Tuesday, given the lack of communication between him and general manager John Schuerholz.

"Andruw was fully aware of what was going to happen, because we had not heard from John," Boras said in an interview late Tuesday night. "We had no conversations with him. We clearly knew what their direction was. There was no question about it from us throughout."

Schuerholz said the Braves decided not to re-sign Jones, who will be a free agent, or even to negotiate with him based on Boras' contract demands. The center fielder is believed to be seeking a multi-year deal worth upwards of $20 million per season.

But Boras said the initial proposal they sent the Braves last winter was only that - an initial proposal - and that Jones would have considered an offer from the Braves if they had made one.

"The Braves did not talk to me at all about Andruw Jones, so the Braves would not know what we were seeking," Boras said. "Why, if you want Andruw Jones, would you not make an offer? The answer is you don't want him."

Boras compared the decision to when the Braves declined to make an offer to pitcher Greg Maddux, another one of his clients, after the 2003 season, citing financial constraints.

"This is how they treat their historical players," Boras said. "It's a situation where you have a star player and an organization that is making a lot of money but apparently ... they've made the decision not to have that many superstars on their team."

Schuerholz said the team did not want to say goodbye to Jones or Maddux - or Tom Glavine, or Rafael Furcal, or Javier Lopez, or Kevin Millwood or others, for that matter. But he said he can only work within the constraints he is given.

Time Warner slashed the team's payroll from more than $100 million in 2003 to roughly $80 million in each subsequent year. And while new owner Liberty Media is expected to increase the payroll this winter, the Braves decided the money would be better spent elsewhere.

"We're charged with the responsibility of putting the best team on the field and utilizing our assets in the most effective way," Schuerholz said. "And in our judgment, this decision addresses that."

Boras said he has not heard from Schuerholz in about a year and a half, despite sending the Braves two letters about Jones in the last year. But the two will undoubtedly be talking again over the next year as Atlanta looks to re-sign another Boras client - first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Both Boras and Schuerholz said the Jones negotiation, or lack thereof, would not affect future discussions about Teixeira, who will be a free agent after next season.

"We've gotten a lot of deals done over the years, so this is not a personal issue," Boras said.

But there could be another issue with Teixeira, who drove in 56 runs with 17 homers in just 54 games with Atlanta this year.

"Mark is familiar with the city and he has a young family, and his contract would be one of great length," Boras said. "But the problem is at the forefront that the Atlanta Braves are not offering no-trade clauses, and that's something would be a major issue in any kind of discussion of Mark Teixeira staying in Atlanta beyond one year."