While the rest of the nation is getting hyped-up in NY’s Lin-derella story, we’ve almost lost sight of the fact that Adam Jones agreed to terms with the Orioles for 2012. One might think that we can now get onto bigger and better things. However speaking for myself, I think some serious questions regarding Jones and the Orioles still linger in the minds of fans. Very few of the Orioles’ moves in recent years have worked out as well as trading Erik Bedard for Jones and others. To those who think the O’s should be shopping Jones, my question would be are you willing to give up one of the few recent moves that this team has made which has worked out? The Orioles didn’t draft Jones, however they got him young enough to where they can claim he matured under their watch. Should their hard work become the beneift of another team?
To better answer that question, Dan Duquette first needs to figure out if Jones is willing to re-sign with the O’s. He’s said publically in the past that he would be willing to re-sign with the O’s, however the team has to approach him first. Duquette has said that he doesn’t want to negotiate during the season, and in a way I understand that. I would rather a player not have the distraction of handling a contract situation while he’s trying to play. While league play doesn’t really start until April 6th, we are about to go into spring training. However that aside, perhaps it would behoove the O’s to consider offering a generous extension to Jones in the next couple of weeks to see if he bites. The longer Jones goes into the regular season without a contract, the more tradable he becomes at the deadline in July.
Jones is eligible for arbitration again next year before hitting the free agent market after the 2013 season. Many people say that his value is at it’s highest right now. That is of course unless he has a monster season this year. The O’s are really between a rock and a hard place, because if they trade him he’s gone. If they keep him (with no extension) and he tears it up this season they’ll have to pay even more next year. (Let’s not forget that if he tears it up in 2012 that would be good for the Orioles in the interim.) If they extend him now and he actually has an off year, then suddenly they’ll be charged with overpaying.
My recommendation would be to run the risk that he has an off year and extend him. I think it’s a very small risk, because Jones has proven what he’s capable of doing. As I said before, I see him as more valuable to the Orioles on the field than on the trading block. I’ll be very honest; unfortunately I have a gut feeling that he’s going to be traded at some point along the way this year, either at the deadline or before. (I hope that they have the sense not to trade him after the deadline by way of waivers; generally you don’t get much value in those situations.) That’s not to say I’d be happy about that, or that I’d even be against it. I suppose that I’d have to see the deal and what the O’s would get in return. However Adam Jones is a playmaker, and I hope that Dan Duquette means it when he says that Jones is a guy you build around.
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