When the Orioles signed Adam Jones to a long term contract at the beginning of last season, all of Baltimore felt a sea change. Jones is just 27, and he only continues to improve both offensively and defensively. But Adam Jones brings more to the table than just numbers.
O’s fans have their panties in a twist over the happenings of this offseason, and rightfully so. When your marquee move is re-signing Nate McLouth, clearly not much is going on. But let’s take a step back.
Adam Jones has emerged as the leader of this Orioles team, and will be for at least through 2018. Jones is charismatic young, and only getting better. He put up career numbers last season, and this week was asked by Joe Torre to be part of team USA in the World Baseball Classic. His flat performance in the playoffs is likely not one he will repeat if the Orioles make it back to the postseason this season. Adam Jones can be looked at as a metaphor for the entire Orioles team. We are young, gaining experience, and getting better.
Perhaps making a big move for a big name veteran isn’t necessary. Everything the O’s experienced last year will only serve to make them better. Matt Weiters is improving offensively, Nick Markakis is solid, but was unfortunately injured for a significant part of the season. Markakis’ injuries in part forced Buck Showalter to bat J.J. Hardy in the #2 hole, though he would have preferred not to. The Orioles have a wealth of young pitchers who performed well last year, and one can only hope that they will continue to improve. Yes, many pieces fell into place for the Orioles last year, but what was that phrase everyone kept repeating last year – “Buck, NOT luck!”
Taking it a step further, one can argue that the support of the fans played a role in the success of the Orioles incredible season. When the organization signed Jones long term, the city knew that the team was finally committed to bringing a winner back to Baltimore. Attendance was up, enthusiasm at the games and just a general buzz around the city fueled this team. The signing Adam Jones played a huge part in creating that buzz.
Adam Jones shows a commitment to the fans, and to the city of Baltimore. He routinely answers fan questions on Twitter, calls into “Sportsline” on WBAL on a regular basis, and supports the Ravens. Adam Jones has taken the Orioles, and the city on his back. He knows that this is his town, and he clearly enjoys that feeling. On the cusp of being a real superstar in the league, Jones is doing great things for his team and his city.
Let’s have some faith in him.