Baltimore Orioles: Why Adam Jones Deserves to Start
By Tim Smart
The Baltimore Orioles have benched Adam Jones the past two nights, using the rebuild as an excuse. Here’s why that’s a bad look for this organization
Our Baltimore Orioles are amid one of the worst baseball seasons in recent history. As much as we all love the O’s, this season can’t end quick enough for some of us.
We have known for a while now that this season is a bust, and that the front office needed to start making moves for the future. They did just that in late-July, trading away superstar Manny Machado and ex-closer Zach Britton, among several others.
There are a few players on this roster who couldn’t be moved for whatever reason; Chris Davis’ contract, Mark Trumbo’s health, etc.
But at least the Orioles’ front office got the ball moving. They even took an unusual step (for them) in acquiring international slot money, which is a big move for the organization. There’s a ton of talent to be had in the international pool and for the Orioles to completely ignore it for so long is a bad look for the O’s.
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The point is this
We know the Orioles need to be rebuilding. They need to do everything they can to get this organization, from the bottom to the top, pointed in the right direction because right now, we have the worst team in MLB and one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
It’s a hideous combination, but it’s where we are right now. The prospects should be getting the playing time.
Which is why the Orioles have decided to sit Adam Jones.
In theory, sure, we get it. Jones won’t be on the next good Orioles team, he’s 33 and in the last year of his contract with us, and there’s an almost zero chance the Orioles re-sign him. I’m not sure the O’s shouldn’t re-sign Jones, but that’s a different story.
If the O’s are sitting Jones in favor of Austin Hays, or the surging Cedric Mullins, we can deal with it. There’s a chance they’re everyday players in 2021 and beyond.
But he’s not sitting for those guys. He’s not sitting in favor of prospects, or players that could be on the next playoff roster.
He’s sitting in favor of Joey Rickard, a 27-year-old with a career .679 OPS. He’s sitting in favor of John Andreoli, a 28-year-old speed and defense player with zero power, and little chance of playing in the majors into his thirties.
We just designated Craig Gentry for assignment; why did we need a younger version of that?
Adam Jones is a class act and he’s the last remaining star on this team. He’s an Oriole through and through, and he deserves better than to be sat in favor of Craig Gentry-lite.
Yes, Jones is aging, but he’s not far off his career numbers. He’s still hitting .285/.317/.429 with serviceable defense. He hasn’t fallen off the cliff yet.
And he’s certainly a better option than Rickard and Andreoli, both for baseball purposes and organizational ones.
Look, Jones’ best days are behind him and the Orioles need to look toward the future. But these other outfielders just aren’t the future, and for the O’s to put Jones on the bench to give a non-prospect playing time is frustrating.
The Orioles will be bad for the next few years, at a minimum. The least they can do is to keep our last remaining good players on the field, rather than letting us sink into the abyss that is bound to be 2019 Orioles baseball a couple months early.