Is Adam Jones untouchable?

For the fans who keep asking me why the Orioles didn’t trade for left-hander Gio Gonzalez and whether this is further proof that the organization isn’t interested in winning, please take a moment to consider the possibility that executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t have enough prospects to offer.

Crazy, I know, but let’s run with it.

The Athletics pried right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, left-hander Tommy Milone and catcher Derek Norris from the Nationals. That’s too much, in my opinion, but the Nats must have wanted to take some heat off the Reds, who gave until it hurt while obtaining pitcher Mat Latos from the Padres.

Not to beat a dead horse, but the Orioles don’t have enough depth to swing a trade like that one. It has nothing to do with their level of interest in winning. They want a top-of-the-rotation starter. Getting one is the challenge.

Oh sure, they could part with Adam Jones and simplify the task, but it’s a bit complicated.

For starters (no pun intended), Duquette isn’t shopping Jones. He really does prefer to build around the center fielder. But he also recognizes that his stack of trade chips is painfully short.

Teams have inquired about Jones, and that includes the Braves. Duquette isn’t going to hang up the phone. He’ll listen to offers and counter with his own proposal.

According to’s Jerry Crasnick, Duquette wanted starter Jair Jurrjens, infielder/outfielder Martin Prado and at least two from a group that consisted of Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado.

Not surprisingly, the Braves decided to pass. Not surprisingly, Duquette expected that response. But it doesn’t hurt to aim high.

Duquette needs the Minnesota Vikings to contact him. Jones could be his version of Herschel Walker.

Is Jones untouchable? Apparently not. Duquette will move him in the right deal. But it would really have to be the right deal. A rival executive would have to be extremely generous.

Jones’ value might never be higher, since he’s two years away from free agency. As I’ve written, the Orioles must consider trading him if they sense that he’s not interested in signing a long-term extension. They need to figure it out.

You can’t build around a guy who might be gone in two years.

You can’t build around a guy if you don’t have enough pieces to make the necessary deals.

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