Should Jones stay or should he go?

I’m venturing into the great outdoors in a few hours to play tennis and take advantage of this weather before it turns cold and gray and depressing beyond words.

I’m not a winter person.

(By the way, “The Great Outdoors” is a pretty good flick. It’s worth a rental. And so is “Summer Rental.” Both with John Candy. But I digress ...)

I’m going to keep it brief this morning, and I’m not going to mention Andy MacPhail or Buck Showalter. Well, I just did, but not anymore.

Adam Jones was named Most Valuable Oriole after batting .280 with 26 doubles, two triples, 25 homers, 83 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and a 785 OPS in 151 games. He also was tied for second in the majors in outfield assists with 16.

It’s not often that fans want the MVO to play for another team the following season, but many of you are pushing for the Orioles to trade Jones while his value is high. Others say you’d have to be high to trade Jones when he’s only 26 and under team control for two more seasons.

I can see both sides of the argument.

Jones is a big bargaining chip, the one player who could bring a hefty return for a team that posted the fourth-worst record in baseball and hasn’t finished above .500 since 1997. He would play the part of Erik Bedard, the pitcher who convinced the Mariners to part with five players, including Jones, in a February 2008 trade.

Maybe Jones could bring that top-of-the-rotation starter, along with other pieces and prospects so desperately needed in this town. And yes, he was born in San Diego and loves living on the West Coast. It’s a popular assumption that he’ll leave as a free agent once he’s eligible.

However, that’s all it is - an assumption. One member of the organization is convinced that Jones will stay if the money is right, which is true of just about anyone wearing a major league uniform.

Jones is the type of player the Orioles need, and trading him would create another void. Remember the excitement over bringing in a position prospect of his caliber? It’s not like the farm system is cranking them out. He can be viewed as a guy you build around.

His home run totals during his four seasons in Baltimore have climbed from nine to 19 to 19 to 25. His RBIs have gone from 57 to 70 to 69 to 83. The 151 games also are a career high, along with the 26 doubles and 12 steals.

Jones isn’t eligible for free agency until 2014. He made $3.25 million this season and is in line for another nice raise.

What would I do?

Glad you asked.

I’d already be getting a feel for whether he’d be interested in signing a long-term deal. That might influence which direction I’d go. And I’d check the market to gauge interest in him.

I’d field all calls and all offers. Nobody is untouchable, though, as Showalter said recently, a team would have to back up the truck for Matt Wieters.

My first inclination is to hold onto Jones and make him a centerpiece of a rebuilding project, but I could be swayed if overwhelmed by an offer - one that includes a No. 1 starter.

I can’t shoot down the idea of trading him if I don’t know what he’d bring in return, but I’m not part of the group that says he has to be moved this winter because of his value and West Coast roots.

So much for keeping it brief this morning and not mentioning Showalter again. I clearly can’t be trusted.

blog comments powered by Disqus