While the hottest conversation involving the Orioles around the trade deadline involves All-Star SS Manny Machado, there are plenty of other players on the current roster that will draw some interest as July 31st approaches.
The first player we’ll take a look at is the longest-tenured Oriole: CF Adam Jones. In the midst of his 11th season in orange and black, Jones and the Orioles front office are in an awfully peculiar situation as his impending free agency approaches.
Jones seems hopeful the team can work out some sort of long-term contract, keeping the Orioles unofficial captain patrolling the Camden Yards outfield for years to come. He does, however, seem steadfast on winning. And there’s certainly none of that going on in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. Thus, the dilemma.
Can the Orioles trade the face of their franchise?
Long before Manny Machado was even drafted by the Orioles, Adam Jones was providing a consistent presence in the middle of the Orioles lineup. In addition to his contributions on the field, Jones is an even better representative of the Orioles organization off of it. Losing a player of Jones’ magnitude would be monumental for the franchise and the community, and should not be taken lightly.
Keeping veteran and respected players is often a key part of a re-build as well. Giving young, aspiring prospects someone to model themselves after both on and off the field. Shifting Jones to a corner outfield spot would still leave room for the next wave of Orioles outfielders. Jones would certainly be one hell of a mentor for the baby birds we’re likely to see in 2019 and beyond, but would Jones be interested in being apart of the re-build?
Jones, 32, has not been shy about his desire to win, speaking up both online and with reporters at various points this season. In my opinion, these kind of statements will be far more telling than any purchases of Oriole legend’s houses.
Adam Jones: “This is my career, this is not the fans’ career. This is my career, so I’m going to make the best decision for myself and going forward I want to win. It’s not about money. Got it. It’s winning. I’ve got a lot of friends with rings, hardware.” #orioles
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 18, 2018
He wants to win. He wants to win now. And I think the Orioles might owe it to their captain to allow him to do so. A player with his presence and reputation would be a huge boost to any locker room with late-October aspirations. Why make him endure the final 2-month struggle in Baltimore if he likely won’t be back in 2019 anyway? Any added value we get in return would also aid the inevitable re-build.
And there certainly will be value in potential trade of Jones. He has remained relatively consistent and durable throughout his tenure in Baltimore, which will both appeal to teams at the deadline as well as teams in free agency. His dwindling defensive metrics will likely require a transition to a corner outfield spot, but that paired with Jones’ consistent presence on offense could result in a few suitors lined up this winter.
Time will tell whether or not the O’s pull the trigger. In my opinion, if they’re willing to concede the loss of Machado this off-season, there’s absolutely no excuse to not go into a full-sell mode. As much as it would pain me to see Jones traded and compete for another team down the stretch, an equal part of me would be happy to see him chasing another pennant. He deserves it. He deserves to win. And if the O’s can get anything in return to help this organization succeed in the future, avoiding more painful seasons like this one, we win too.
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