Baltimore Orioles: Could Adam Jones Be Traded This Winter?
The MLB offseason is underway. With the 2017 World Series more than a week past and Qualifying Offers handed out to nine players, it’s only a matter of time before we start to hear rumors of free agents and possible trades. While most people will have their eyes on the likes of Yu Darvish, Giancarlo Stanton, and other big names, there is a member of the Baltimore Orioles that could see his name thrown about this Winter. His name, Adam Jones.
Anyone who follows baseball as a whole will recognize Jones’ name as one of the faces of the Baltimore franchise. After being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round in the 2003 MLB Draft, Jones would come to Charm City in a blockbuster deal that sent lefty Erik Bedard to the M’s in February of 2008. Jones has spent the last 10 years playing for the O’s.
Now 32, Jones is reaching the end of his peak seasons. While he has not been the All-Star player he used to be, there is no denying Jones is still a solid piece for a ballclub. The five-time All-Star (Last time was 2015) and four-time Gold Glove winner (Last won in 2014) hit for a .285 average and launched 26 homers a season ago.
Now if you were a team looking to contend in 2018, wouldn’t you take those type of numbers from your center fielder? Add in a veteran presence who is known for being a positive presence, plays solid defense and plays virtually every game. The answer, hell yeah.
So the question becomes, would the Orioles really look to deal the man who has been their face, alongside Chris Davis, for years now? Let’s check a few factors, shall we?
For starters, Jones is entering the final year of his current contract. Set to make just over $17 million on the season, Jones is going to be the Orioles second-highest paid player, only behind Davis (unless Manny Machado gets paid more than expected in arbitration).
Baltimore is in a bit of a tough spot right now. Their current roster is filled with holes. Their starting rotation, which has been an issue for years, has names such as Alec Asher and Miguel Castro holding down starting roles at the moment. To say they could use an influence of young talent there is an understatement.
On top of their current roster is a bit of a mess, next Winter is not going to do them any favors. In addition to Jones coming off the books, so is their current star and face of the franchise Machado, as well as their two dynamic relief pitchers, Zach Britton and Brad Brach. The result, a potential firesale this Winter.
Fans would be up in arms if the team moved Machado, even if he is likely to walk at season’s end. One of Britton or Brach is likely to go. The next most logical name would be Jones. This team needs to add some youth to energize the fan base in the coming years. With the 2019 offseason set to be full of megastars, the Orioles would be wise to try to build a decent foundation this Winter. Then they can try to lure one of the big names off the market in a year, with Machado likely to be atop that list.
There is no doubt there would be plenty of takers for Jones. The St. Louis Cardinals immediately come to mind, as they have been linked to a number of outfielders already, including the entire Miami Marlins outfield. They are a team that has pitching prospects to move, making that a possible matchup. Other teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Washington Nationals are also all potential landing spots.
At the end of the day, Jones is not a name many people have talked about so far this Winter. But the Baltimore Orioles need to make some moves to help their future. Moving Jones may be a result of that. So when the Winter Meetings come around, do not be surprised when you hear his name floating around out there.
What do you think? Will the Orioles move their former face of the franchise? Should they? Tell us what you think in the comments!