Former Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones remains unsigned. So do a lot of decent free agent players. This question has been asked various times this off season thus far, but should the Orioles consider a reunion?
Earlier this off season my response was perhaps, but with a caveat. That caveat was that he would have to be willing to sign for relatively cheap, and on perhaps a one-year deal. (My thought process in general would be that perhaps they could unload him at the deadline, however keep in mind that he’d return to the Orioles with the ability to nix a trade, which is what he did last year.) However I think it’s worth re-visiting the idea at this point.
I think that any deal with Jones should still be short(ish). Perhaps two years with a club option for a third, or something along those lines. However when I wrote about this earlier this off season I expected that by now the log jam of free agent players would be broken. That seems to be as true as the Federal Government re-opening sometime soon. So for the second year in a row, the teams are at this point in a power position in terms of dictating contract terms.
My hope would be that any deal offered would still take into account the fact that Jones is an Orioles’ legend. However one thing that he would have to accept would be that he’d be playing right field. And knowing Jones, I don’t think that would be a problem. He was widely lauded around baseball for how he handled handing off the center field duties to Cedric Mullins last year. That isn’t an easy thing to do.
If Jones understands that he’ll be primarily a right fielder, is willing to sign a club-friendly contract, etc, the Orioles should consider bringing one of their own back home. (And in reality he’ll have never left.) That would also give manager Brandon Hyde a decent amount of flexibility when it comes to the lineup. Trey Mancini and D.J. Stewart could platoon in left field, and Mancini and Chris Davis at first base. And perhaps all of the above as well as Jones (and Mark Trumbo) could rotate at designated hitter.
Having Jones back would also give the Orioles a larger veteran presence in the clubhouse. And that can be huge. While the direction of the team has definitely gone to the youth movement and will stay there, you still need veterans in the clubhouse. Who better than Adam Jones to fill that role?
Is it something that the Orioles and Jones are considering? That I can’t tell you. But it’s something that they should consider. Both parties would benefit, and both would be in a position to help the other out. Plus I think the fans would kind of dig having Jones back at Camden Yards everyday.