Unless something changes between now and 4 p.m. this afternoon, Adam Jones is going to stay with the Orioles. Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said he thought Jones would still be with the team even if Jones wouldn’t comment when asked about it.
The Orioles wanted to trade Jones, probably to the Philadelphia Phillies, but apparently he blocked the deal—as is his right—because he’s been a major leaguer for 10 years, and five with the Orioles.
Jones continues to be a productive member of the team but with “rebuild” the word of the day around here, they’d like to move him so that they can get a two-month look at Cedric Mullins in center field.
The Orioles could call up Mullins even if Jones stays and move the five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover from center to right field, a position he hasn’t played since 2007 when he was with Seattle and started two games there.
Jones’ decision to stay — and, of course, he could change his mind at 3:59 p.m. — shouldn’t have surprised the Orioles.
Although it may complicate things for the team, it’s perfectly understandable.
If the reasons are personal instead of professional, Jones owes no one an explanation. He’s earned his right to stay in Baltimore for two more months if he wishes.
Although most athletes probably would jump at the chance to leave a losing environment and chase glory for a few months elsewhere, most aren’t Jones.
Thanks to social media, Jones is one of the most accessible athletes. Until recently, Jones was often at his locker willing to engage with nearly everyone about everything.
Now, things have changed.
As Orioles manager Buck Showalter likes to say: “Never catch a falling star.”
Other managers and coaches in professional sports have said that one of the hardest things about their jobs is dealing with a top-shelf talent who has lost a step or two.
Jones is in the final year of a six-year, $85.5-million contract, one that’s worked out well for both parties. He’s been one of the great Orioles of our time, and Baltimore has loved him back.
That’s one of the reasons I’m suspecting he doesn’t want to leave. When he spoke at length Thursday about his decision, he wondered who would shepherd his community work if he weren’t around.
When Jones announced plans for his annual tailgate to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Baltimore, he wondered on Twitter: “Would people still come to my tailgate if I’m no longer an O!!”
Fans who have criticized Jones for being selfish have it wrong. He’s earned the right to stay, and I surmise that more than a few of you have turned down excellent job opportunities elsewhere because you didn’t want to uproot your children from family, friends, schools and activities.
Jones may be no different.
Just because he’s paid lavishly doesn’t change the intangibles. While Jones and other well-paid athletes don’t have as many financial worries about tuitions, vacations and braces, they are away from home for much of the year, missing out on significant family events.
Jones’ two young active sons are often around him, and his devotion can’t be questioned.
No one knows Jones’ family dynamics, and his decision, in this case, shouldn’t be questioned—if he sticks to his original plan.
Jones could relent, go elsewhere and return to Baltimore for next season if the team wants him. However, Duquette, whose future is also uncertain, seemed to be downplaying that possibility.
“His contract is up,” Duquette said Sunday. “I don’t know whether Adam will be here or not, but the club is going in the direction of younger ballplayers, I can tell you that.”
Assuming Jones is still with the team tonight, this doesn’t have to fray his relationship with the Orioles.
Jones acknowledged that Mullins and DJ Stewart need to be auditioned in the outfield at get major league at-bats, and while it might be uncomfortable at first, the feeling here is that fans would continue to embrace Jones. What might be a dreary final two months for the Orioles—could turn into a “thank you, Adam,” instead.
Schoop’s the man
Accolades for the Orioles have been few and far between this season. Jonathan Schoop was named American League Player of the Week.
Schoop, who is in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak that equals his career-best, batted .379 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in six games.
It was the second time Schoop has won the award, and the second time an Oriole was named AL Player of the Week this year. Manny Machado captured the award for the period ending April 22.
With Brad Brach traded to Atlanta, the Orioles will add a player to the roster today. Brach’s removal puts the Orioles’ 40-man roster at 37, and eight of the 13 players not on the major league roster are injured—or rehabbing their injuries.
The only healthy minor leaguers on the 40-man roster are Donnie Hart, Ryan Meisinger, Chance Sisco, Breyvick Valera and Jimmy Yacabonis.
Catcher Andrew Susac, who played briefly with the Orioles earlier this year, had his season ended last week when a foul ball broke his left wrist.