BALTIMORE—Adam Jones isn’t sure what he’ll do if the Orioles approach him about a trade. Jones can veto any proposed deal because he’s been in the major leagues for 10 years and five with the Orioles.
“It’s like the first day of school when you wear that outfit and you see what kind of interest everybody has in you — who’s flirting with you and whatnot,” Jones said.
“It’s cool, it’s flattering. It’s uncommon territory. I’ve never been in a situation where my name has been mentioned in trades since 2011 with the Braves or something. It’s definitely uncommon territory. But, it’s the business.”
After watching Manny Machado and Zach Britton, both longtime teammates, walk out that door in the last eight days, Jones doesn’t wonder if he’s next — because of the trade veto he’s earned by seniority.
“They could be traded without their acknowledgement,” Jones said “They could be traded at 2 o’clock in the morning while they sleep. They’re two different scenarios. Honestly, Manny is a once-in-a-lifetime guy who’s going to get the megadeal and obviously they’re not doing it here.
“Zach has an opportunity since the closers are getting a lot of money, goes out and has a very good two months with New York, he can line himself up for a pretty good contract somewhere. Me, I’m older. So it’s a little different. I guess my market is completely different from those two.”
Jones has been linked with Cleveland, Philadelphia and San Francisco in reports, but he’s not busy researching those situations.
“Pretty humbling to see that other team have interest in my services, either with on-field play, leadership, tough mindset, show up every day, work mentality that I have,” Jones said.
“To not wear black and orange, I’ve donned it for 11 years. It’d be different, but it’s business. You’ve got to go if the other team is calling you, the other team is paying you. It’s what you’ve got to do.”
Buck Showalter, who’s managed Jones for nearly eight years, continues to speak highly of Jones.
“I think Adam would be good in any situation,” Showalter said. “Adam is very adaptable. Nobody loves to win more than him…I guarantee if I was a club in contention I’d be wanting an Adam Jones on my club.”
Jones hasn’t been approached by the club for an extension, and isn’t sure what he’d do if he were. But he knows that if he stays with the Orioles for the final two months of 2018—and beyond, he may have to yield center field to Cedric Mullins, who’s at Triple-A Norfolk.
“That would be another discussion,” Jones said. “The season we’re having, these young guys need to be called up. The Mullins and [DJ] Stewarts of the world need to be called up. I think the most important thing is to get them at-bats. Not necessarily positional, it’s at-bats. The hardest thing to do in this game is to hit.
“Defense, Mullins and Stewart would be fine. Mullins would be fine no matter where he plays defense. The biggest test to see if someone can play is, can they hit at this level? Everyone says this is the guy of the future, that’s every organization, but as soon as they get here they struggle because it’s hard. I think these kids just need to get the opportunity to get the at-bats. It doesn’t matter where they play.”
Jones doesn’t relish leaving Baltimore. His wife is from here, the couple has two young sons, and he’s heavily involved in community activities.
“What would happen to all the things I’ve done?” Jones said.
“Who would pick up the slack? Who would pick up all the community involvement? A lot of stuff has to continue because those kids are counting on funding each year to continue the program that they’re striving and grinding their ways through. There’s a lot of dynamics to me here in Baltimore. It’s not just between the lines, between the city limits, county limits.”
Between now and Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline for non-waiver trades, there will be lots of discussion about Jones—and maybe some with the Orioles.
“They can say whatever they want and propose whatever they want, but I can be like, ‘Ehh you know what? That doesn’t work for me,” Jones said.
“But it’s interesting. We shall see what happens. I don’t know what the plan is here for the future or if I’m even part of it. Let’s see what interest can be generated and see how my representation and my family feel about something that could happen…There’s going to be some discussions soon because I guess I am next in line to get off the books.”