Orioles center fielder Adam Jones talked at length this afternoon on a variety of topics, including his name coming up in trade talks, the team’s current rebuilding effort and if he would move out of center for a younger player.
Jones knows now that Manny Machado and Zach Britton have been traded and that he could be next.
“It’s cool, it’s flattering. It’s uncommon territory. But its business,” he said of his name coming up in the rumor mill.
But Jones’ situation is different. He holds 10-5 rights, in that he’s been in the majors for 10 years and for five or more with his current team. He can veto any trade that is made. That makes his situation much different than with Machado and Britton.
“One hundred percent,” he said. “They can say whatever they want and propose whatever they want. But ‘Yeah, you know? Doesn’t work for me.’ It’s interesting. We shall see what happens. I don’t know what the plan is here for the future or if I’m even part of it. Let’s see what interest can be generated and see how my representation and my family feel about something that could happen.”
Jones said he and his family have not yet discussed the possibility of him leaving the Orioles and what teams he would potentially agree to go to.
“Not yet. I think there will be discussions soon because I’m next in line to get off the books,” he said. “If the scenario is right, I want to win, I want play ball. You look at these kind of scenarios and what is the best fit for you. When all the information comes and we get more information, I’ll be able to make a better decision based on the information. But as of now, I don’t have the information or know what anybody would want me to do.”
Jones was asked about a scenario where he could get traded, play for a contender the rest of this year and then possibly re-sign with the Orioles.
“Is the door open? You can want all you want,” he said. “But if that door is not open, you’re just going to be sitting outside knocking. Who knows, to be honest with you. Who knows?”
Has Jones been thinking at all lately about the fact he could be an ex-Oriole soon?
“It’s pretty humbling to see that other teams have interest in my services,” he said. “Either with the on-field play, the leadership, the tough mindset. The work mentality that I have. To not wear black and orange? I’ve donned it for 11 years. It would be different. But it’s business. If the other team is calling, the other team is paying you, you have to do what you have to do.”
Another decision that could be coming for Jones and the Orioles is his future as a center fielder. Would he be OK with moving to a corner spot if the team called up a promising rookie?
“That would be another discussion,” Jones said. “With the season we’re having, these young guys need to be called up. If the (Cedric) Mullins and (DJ) Stewarts of the world need to be called up, I think the most important thing is to get them at-bats. Not necessarily positional, it’s at-bats. The hardest thing to do in this game is to hit. Defense, Mullins and Stewart would be fine. The biggest test is can they hit at this level? These kids just need at-bats. It doesn’t matter where they play. They need actual at-bats against some tough guys.”
If Jones is an Oriole next year, is he ready to mentor young players?
“I don’t like living in ifs. I can’t really live in ifs,” he said.
Jones was not at all surprised to see the club make public recently the plans to rebuild the roster.
“It’s evident you had to do it immediately. You can’t wait to this offseason,” Jones said. “You made trades for two key guys and there could be more trades in the next five days. With maybe (Brad) Brach, maybe (Danny) Valencia. So it’s interesting to see how a rebuild really is from the inside. When I come over here, I was a young prospect, all happy and not understanding what the veterans like (Aubrey) Huff and (Kevin) Millar were truly thinking. Now I’m in their shoes, like ‘Damn, everybody wants to do all that.’ It’s uncharted territory but it’s business. It’s cool to see both sides of the game.”
It is clear it would be tough for Jones to leave Baltimore for many reasons - and many of them have nothing to do with playing baseball.
“It wouldn’t be easy,” he said. “My thing is, what would happen to all the (charitable causes and) things I’ve done here? Who would pick up the slack? All the community involvement. A lot of that stuff needs to continue. Those kids are counting on the funding to continue the programs they are striving and grinding their way through. There are a lot of dynamics to me here in Baltimore. It’s not just me between the lines.”