Anthony Amobi: This season is critical for Adam Jones

During the offseason, one the biggest names on the Orioles - Adam Jones - was a target of trade rumors, specifically talks with the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Jair Jurrjens and infielder Martin Prado.

Baltimore didn't wind up trading Jones, as we all know; however, will he stay with Orioles throughout his career or move to greener pastures and go to a winner?

Jones' profile has risen in the game, and he has steadily improved over the past few years. One would think that considering the Orioles are mired in a 14-year losing skid, perhaps trading away Jones for young pieces to build on is a prudent move.

Based on what I've read, executive vice president Dan Duquette wants to keep Jones. Then again, he isn't ignoring offers for Jones. I would imagine it would take quite a haul to acquire Jones, and a lot of teams right now won't give up what it would take.

A lot of teams are taking an aggressive approach in signing their young stars - and taking a risk, sort of like the Rockies did with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Keep in mind, former Orioles GM Andy MacPhail signed Nick Markakis to six-year contract extension a few years ago.

I have mused about Jones with a few people over the past year and whether he's stays in Baltimore for the long haul - or not.

Some think he will stay in Baltimore long-term; however, a few also think he will be traded.

Personally, if I were Jones - and cared about winning - I'd wait and go year to year before deciding on my future.

I would think every player in the majors would want to go to a contender, and it does no good for Jones to sign a long-term deal if he feels that the O's franchise isn't exactly moving forward.

If you consider Jones' rising stature, he may be better off waiting until free agency.

On the other hand, if he wants the money and long-term financial security at a young age, perhaps he should sign a big deal with the Orioles and get it done with soon.

That being said, I have been intrigued him this spring training and wonder what he can accomplish in 2012. I think this season is critical for him - and for the team.

So far, Jones has batted cleanup in every game - six in total - and is currently hitting .292 with a homer and one RBI.

While he has put up some impressive numbers so far in his career, he needs to cut down on the strikeouts, improve his on-base percentage and walk more.

I do think that Jones will improve his numbers in 2012, hit for more power and drive in close to 100 runs. He has the ability to be a real five-tool player, but can it be harnessed?

Of course, the better Jones does, the more he'll get paid. Whether he stays in Charm City or moves on remains to be seen.

What do you all think?

Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's appear as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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