A lot of fans are wondering why the Orioles have yet to begin talks on a contract extension with Adam Jones. After four seasons and 551 games with the Orioles, the 26-year-old Jones can be a free agent after the 2013 season.
Jones was voted as the Most Valuable Oriole last year when his 16 outfield assists led all major league center fielders and he set career highs in doubles (26), homers (25), RBIs (83), stolen bases (12), extra-base hits (53) and slugging (.466).
When I asked Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette about any contract extension talks with Jones back at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, he said if any talks were to happen, they would not until at least this month at the earliest. Duquette told MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko this week that no talks have begun to this point and that he is focused right now on building the 2012 team.
Some fans are disappointed by that. They think it means the Orioles don't want to extend Jones. That could turn out to be true, or it just could be those talks with happen later. Later could mean over the next several weeks or even as late as next offseason.
Some also insist that Jones, who is from San Diego, wants to play for a West Coast team or more of a winning team and will leave the Orioles when he can via free agency. Of course all of this is just speculation, no matter how many people seem to feel they have a real read on the situation.
I have seen references to some discussion that Jones' agent and Andy MacPhail supposedly had last winter where Jones' agent said they were not interested in talking about an extension then. I don't think this supposed discussion ever actually took place but some bring up it now as fact.
It's the age where every stat, fact, quote and note is analyzed and dissected to an amazing extent, but I just don't think either side has shown their true cards in this game right now. We just don't know whether Jones truly wants to stay in Baltimore past 2013 or whether the Orioles feel he is truly worthy of a contract extension.
I guess you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, but this hand is still in its early stages. We have a lot of guessing and speculation going on, but few facts and certainties.
Sure, if Jones gets to within a year of free agency, he may just decide to play that out and see what offers will be out there. But even at that point, the chance to have some contract security could be more meaningful to him. After all, a player that gets hurt or has his performance fall off in his walk year, can severly damage his free agent outlook and cost himself some dollars.
There is also the possibility that the Orioles could make improvements this year, win more games and Jones could see a light at the end of the dark Orioles tunnel and want to stay.
A lot can happen over the next few weeks, months and year.
Some fans are expressing their unhappiness that Luke Scott has left the Orioles and is headed to Tampa Bay. If Scott rebounds from his labrum surgery of late July to hit like the Scott of 2010, the Orioles will certainly miss him. Plus, they'll be reminded 18 times per year of what got away.
Scott had his best year in 2010 and was voted that season's Most Valuable Oriole when he hit .284 with 27 homers, 72 RBIs and an OPS of .902 that ranked seventh in the American League. His OPS then topped those of David Ortiz, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
Troy Patton, by the way, is the only remaining player the Orioles got for Houston in that five-for-one deal of December 2007 that sent Miguel Tejada to Houston. Then, they also got Scott, Dennis Sarfate, Matt Albers and Mike Costanzo.
Some will not be too upset about losing Scott, a player that has limited defensive skills, can be streaky and turns 34 in June. Others loved his power potential and he was a fan favorite to many.
Media members got to see a Luke that was always smiling, friendly, accomodating and polite. It's hard not to wish a guy like that well as he moves on to another team.