Saying “rest assured we have wrestled with the decision,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said today on 105.7 FM The Fan that he believes there is a better than 50-50 percent chance that outfielder Adam Jones is still an Oriole after Tuesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
“I do. I believe he’ll be an Oriole on Wednesday,” Duquette said. “These veteran players, it’s a tough, tough decision. Rest assured that we have wrestled with that decision many, many sleepless nights.”
While the Orioles have traded away pending free agents Manny Machado and Zach Britton, and still could move pitcher Brad Brach, dealing Jones is more complicated. He’s the face of the franchise and there is an obvious strong attachment between the player and the fans. Also, as a 10-5 player - 10 years in the majors, five with the same club - Jones has to approve any trade.
“John McHale, a legendary executive for the Expos, once told me the biggest challenge you will ever have as an executive is when you have a star player and veteran player that has played their best years for your franchise and their best years are probably behind him,” Duquette said. “Then you have to decide exactly where does that player fit into your franchise. The fans love him and remember all the great things he did. Then you have to project that player going forward and what his value is to the organization. These are tough decisions for the team.
“Adam Jones is a terrific player. He posts up every day and has been a significant part of our lineup. I think that deep down we’d love to have him play his whole career here. I don’t know whether that is realistic in the economics in the current system. We appreciate Adam and everything he’s done for this team and our community.”
Does Duquette believe Jones would approve a trade?
“That is a question for Adam. He’s been here for 10 years and he has the right to give his consent to any assignment. That is really a question for Adam,” Duquette said on the 105.7 The Fan interview.
The Orioles added eight players to their high minors with the trades of Machado and Britton. Duquette seems open to trading talent that is under team control beyond 2018 but the club certainly is not shopping those players.
“We told clubs we were going to move the free agent contracts, the pending free agents,” he said. “But we have some good young players that teams will be interested in. We have listened to some offers for the other players, but we have not been out there actively seeking trade partners (for players under team control beyond 2018). We are just trying to put together our team and usually at this time of year it’s the veteran players you trade, players that are going to be free agents and you get young players back. If some other opportunities come our way, that will be good. But this isn’t the only trade market. This is the deadline where you can trade unilaterally and don’t need someone else’s permission. In some ways, the deadline is good. It forces the trades and transfers.”
Duquette downplayed reports that the Orioles are close to a deal with Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa. Mesa, 22, remains ineligible to sign because Major League Baseball hasn’t granted its approval.
“I don’t know where that came from frankly,” Duquette said. “We haven’t had contact and he hasn’t been approved to come here by Major League Baseball. I don’t know where that came from. It is not appropriate to talk about whether we have interest or not. He has to go through the process and be approved by Major League Baseball to sign.”