BALTIMORE—As Adam Jones prepares for what is expected to be his final day with the Orioles, he can reflect on the accomplishments of his 11-year career with the team.
There are the on-field statistics, which place him just below the all-time great Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray. He’ll receive his third “Most Valuable Oriole” award before Sunday’s game.
Then there are his off-field activities. Before Saturday’s games, Jones and his wife, Audie, and the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation were recognized for their joint donation of $150,000 to local charities.
“I think it’s really cool, the impact that an individual can make,” Jones said.
“We go into this as athletes and we try to live out our dream of just playing our sport, and when you have success comes a lot of other avenues that you can bless other people.
“Me coming here bright-eyed, not knowing what was at stake for me, I came here and played my tail off and it turned into success. And the success on the field allowed me to meet with community leaders, community program advisers and to expand myself and my reach to different communities and different people, which has been, I think, the biggest blessing.”
As a free agent for the first time, the 33-year-old Jones can decide where he’ll play in 2019—and perhaps beyond.
He’s not saying if he wants to stay with the Orioles. For now, it doesn’t appear that there’s much interest from the team despite the obvious fan appeal.
“Well, who holds the cards?” Jones said. “I think now we kind of both do. But I’m not the one making business decisions on their regard. All I can do is make business decisions on my behalf now.”
Just ahead of the July non-waiver trade deadline, Jones vetoed a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, who were going to move him from center to right field. The Phillies were going to play him semi-regularly.
Ten days after the trade deadline, the Orioles moved him to right field when Cedric Mullins was called up. For the most part, they’ve continued to play Jones, except for a three-game series in Tampa Bay three weeks ago.
“I nixed the [trade] because it wasn’t a good move for Adam Jones as a player and going forward,” Jones said. “That’s why I nixed the trade. And I blessed Philly, I wished them nothing but the best. And they’re going to be damn good next year, too. It wasn’t the best move for Adam as a player going to free agency to go platoon in a position I was not playing.”
Jones doesn’t regret his decision.
“No. Not a bit,” he said. “Why would I? If anyone can give me one reason why. There’s no reason why.”
As a 10-year major league veteran who has played at least five years with the Orioles, Jones can veto any trade.
“You have that right,” Jones said. “It’s just like gaining tenure at any other job. You gain tenure and you have the right to do things. People hate that you gain tenure. A lot of people hate on people who gain tenure. The charitable stuff, I know it’s being announced now. This stuff has been in the works for months. My wife has had all of this stuff orchestrated for months. I think now it’s the perfect time to put it out, it’s good for the last weekend.”
Jones and his family live in the area, and he’s gotten to know Baltimore and its people well.
“People appreciate me showing up to work every day and in a city like Baltimore, a place where fans don’t like excuses,” Jones said. “Fans just want you to show up to work and shut the hell up and play the game hard. That’s what I’ve done. Not shut the hell up, but play the game hard.”
Jones appreciates his time with the Orioles.
“I’ve done everything,” Jones said. “I show up to work ready to play. I’ve done everything I can do. I still got a lot in the tank and you know it. There’s a lot let in the tank. The oil got changed. There’s a lot left in the tank.”