Trading a key Oriole would be hard to do

Yes, some of us were burning the midnight (and early morning) oil with rumors of a possible Orioles acquisition of free agent outfielder Coco Crisp.

Now his O’s acquisition seems unlikely but fans sure rushed to Twitter and message boards, including last night, to discuss this.

Most had one key question: What would that mean for Adam Jones? Would he move to left field? Would he be traded?

Whenever there is talk of trading a key Oriole like Jones, some fans always ask a variation of this question: Why do they want to get rid of him?

A trade doesn’t mean a team wants to get rid of a player, but sometimes you have to trade something to get something. Jones could bring a key pitcher or pitchers in return, possibly a much better one than the club can get via free agency, and pitching is the club’s biggest need. Since he took over, executive vice president Dan Duquette has been consistent in his comments about going after pitching.

Another obvious question: Who plays center if Jones is moved? There is no player on the roster right now that could come close to filling Jones’ shoes there. Crisp would have at least been able to hold his own there and possibly allow for a less painful departure of Jones.

All of this is speculation, but fans get attached to their own players, especially a young talent like Jones that fans have watched grow into a key talent that could possibly continue to grow into a superstar.

Duquette has consistenly said things like, “I am not shopping Adam Jones,” and “Jones is the kind of player we want to build around” since the Winter Meetings.

Clearly, fans are very divided on a possible trade of Jones with many against because he is a key and emerging young talent. Others doubt the club will re-sign him or that Jones will choose to sign a contract extension with the Orioles before he can be a free agent after the 2013 season. That is another reason to trade a key piece - to get something rather than just watching the player walk out the door.

Whenever fans ask me if I would trade a certain player my response is always, “Tell me what the Orioles are getting in the deal.” If you are getting J.J. Hardy for two relievers with little combined major league experience, as they did, that’s a no brainer.

But moving a player that could be a top center fielder for the next 10 years would not be easy to do. For now, the talk about Jones as a trade chip will not go away, despite the Orioles’ public comments to the contrary.

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