There were some very sincere and heartfelt comments made by Jones, O’s vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
“This commitment by the Orioles reflects that Adam Jones is more than a fine player. He’s a leader in our community, and he’s a winner. He has heart and his work in the community makes clear that his heart is always in the right place. Congratulations Adam, we couldn’t be happier that you are as committed as we are to building Baltimore’s next championship team,” Duquette said in announcing Jones’ new six-year deal.
Jones thanked his family, his agent, his girlfriend and his coaches and teammates, several of which attended the press conference including Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Jake Arrieta and Robert Andino.
“There is a bigger goal here and that is winning games,” Jones said. “That is why I signed on. I am glad to sign on. So many people to thank like my man Mark McLemore, Tony Gwynn, Griffey. I didn’t get here by myself. I appreciate the moment. Everybody knows I’m not from Baltimore, but this is now my town. I want to relish it and win baseball games.”
Duquette said the negotiations have been going on for some time.
“During the winter, we agreed to explore a long-term deal with Adam. We started the process in spring training, and it picked up some steam the last few weeks,” he said.
“Now I don’t have to worry about trade deadlines or free agency,” Jones said. “Just worry about being part of the best team in baseball. Baltimore is a great baseball city. We have to prove to the fans that we are for real, and we’re slowly doing it. This is a big step in that direction.”
“I was sure a while ago (that I wanted to stay here). Six years is a long committment, but I’ve been here for five. This doesn’t necessarily make me a lifelong Oriole, but it’s sure heading in that direction.
“Me here, I fit here in this city, I fit here on this team, I fit in Camden Yards. I really don’t see myself wearing another white uniform that doesn’t have Orioles across the chest. If we win here, this is my championship, this is our championship, I am not part of someone else’s championship. That makes me even hungrier to win. We can beat the odds here, and I want to be a part of it,” he said.
Duquette was asked what message the Jones deal sends to the Orioles’ fans.
“I think it’s important the fans know we are committed to having a winning team, and Adam Jones stabilizes our team. Here’s a player that can help us on both sides of the ball, and he’s 26 years old and he’s a fixture in the community. We are telling Oriole fans we are committed to this player and to putting a winning team on the field. We are committed to providing hope in rebuilding our fan base,” he said.
Showalter said that Orioles owner Peter Angelos has made a commitment to the club and its future.
“The reason why we were able to sign Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy, Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts and Adam Jones, this is not some uncharted territory for our ownership group. There are certain things you have to do, and we don’t take it lightly. Adam understands the responsibility that comes with this. I trust him,” Showalter said.
When asked if he would try to help lure big name free agents to Baltimore, Jones said, “We’ve got the team. There are always some pieces to the puzzle that you may have to go find, but we’ve got the team here. We just have to do it all year. Anyone can do it for two months. But I’ll take my team against anybody.”
Jones talked about wanting to continue to do some work outside of the team and in the Baltimore community.
“There are a lot of things I want to do in this city,” he said. “I like to do it on my own time outside of the team to show the kids that I am not doing something just to be recognized. As a kid, I didn’t have all the resources and somehow I made it. I enjoy helping kids. Everyone just needs a window of opportunity. I had that small window, and I climbed in. I try to help as much as I can.
“I definitely want to make a mark in this city,” he said when asked if he could have the impact in Baltimore that players like Cal Ripken Jr. and Ray Lewis have had. “I want to be someone that will play hard every day and be someone to make a difference in the community. Maybe I can help one kid get better at baseball, get better at school, get a job. So far I’ve helped a couple hundred, and that is almost as fulfilling as playing Major League Baseball. Some of these kids do look up to me, and I am a role model.”
Duquette was asked if the Orioles are going for it to win now and if they will be aggressive in the future in free agency.
“I don’t think the way to build a team is through free agency. The way to build a team is through a organizational approach. Sign and develop good players and keep the best players on your team, like we are doing today,” he said.
Duquette was asked if this long-term deal with Jones was a direct result of his play this year, or if he had planned to sign Jones long-term all along.
“I think Adam’s play has really paved the way for this type of contract,” Duquette said. “He’s been more selective at the plate and getting better pitches to hit. He’s been producing at an elite level.
“The dude rang the cash register every time he hit a home run. Adam kind of forced the issue, didn’t he?”