The future of the Orioles rests on Dan Duquette’s decision with Adam Jones.

Yesterday, the Orioles avoided arbitration with their star center fielder by signing him to a one-year deal with a base salary of $6.5 million.  Jones will become a free agent after the 2013 season and it’s his role in Baltimore that will determine Duquette’s direction.

Should the Orioles decide not to sign Jones to a long-term deal, they have to trade him for valuable pieces and the best time to do that would be after a fast start this season.  If the O’s want to build around Jones — which I would like to see personally — then they need to make him their guy by signing a long-term extension.

Prior to the news of Jones avoiding arbitration, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported that Duquette had acknowledged talks of a long-term deal for Jones.  “Yes, we have discussed a variety of different options,” Duquette said.

Now Brittany Ghiroli of reports that those discussions have been (again) put on the back burner.  Ghiroli says that Duquette believes during year negotiations are a “distraction.”

Besides not having a true number one starter, trying Wilson Betemit at DH, not knowing when (or if) Brian Roberts will play second base and hit leadoff, playing in the AL East and a slew of other problems — Adam Jones’ future is a huge question mark hanging over the Warehouse.  Why not just get it done now?  Pay the man.