Results tagged ‘ Adam Jones ’

Baltimore Orioles: Old Friends

The Baltimore Orioles will be in Phoenix this evening opening up a three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks. And patrolling right field for Arizona is a familiar face: Adam Jones. I don’t need to tell you about Jones, as he was the face of the Orioles for ten years. Needless to say, he meant more to the Orioles and the city of Baltimore perhaps more than any player since Cal.

So it’ll certainly be odd to see him facing the Orioles tonight. However this happens all the time – it’s part of sports. What’s interesting to me is that there isn’t really much fanfare involved in the Birds facing their former star. Why is that?

First off this series is at Chase Field in Phoenix as opposed to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. When Manny Machado (who the Orioles will also see in San Diego as part of this trip) faced the Orioles last month, it was a much bigger deal because the games were in Baltimore. If these games were going to be in Baltimore, I think there would be a much bigger deal being made. Players changing teams after years and years of being with one team and then returning to their former home stadiums is a huge deal.

However it’s also worth mentioning that the Orioles team that heads into Chase Field tonight to face Jones and Arizona is vastly different from the Orioles teams of which Jones was a part. There’s no Machado, Markakis, Wieters, Hardy, etc. Now having said that, Chris Davis and Trey Mancini both played with Jones, so those are familiar faces.

However that aside, this is a totally different team than what Jones knew. It’s also a different coaching staff. One has to believe that regardless of the fact that he now plays for Arizona, it’s going to be strange for Jones to see the Oriole uniforms on the field, and then look in their dugout and not see the venerable figure of Buck Showalter pacing around. Things do change; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look strange when they do.

I wrote last September about Jones and Showalter, as their time with the Orioles was wrapping up. That was a very reflective day for the Orioles (the last game of the 2018 season), as I chronicled here. And as I said in my game recap following that final game in 2018, it was a day that was tough for a lot of people – myself included. But in a beautiful way.

Before referencing it above, I went back and read the game recap from that final game, in which I described how Buck Showalter lifted Jones in the top of the ninth so the fans could pay homage. I also said that both Jones and Showalter were a part of the larger “Baltimore story.” And I stand by that. They’ll be a part of it forever.

But for the first part of this week, the O’s will have to face Jones as an opponent. He’s hitting .262 on the year, with 13 homers. Should be a fun series.

Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones to Arizona

On this, the only off day in camp, there’s news about a former member of the Baltimore Orioles. It appears that Adam Jones has landed. Last night the news broke that Jones had apparently agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, worth $3 million guaranteed.

Jones will join another former Oriole, catcher Caleb Joseph, in Arizona with the Diamondbacks. I think this is a good situation for Jones, as he’s going to a team that believes it’s ready to contend now. Obviously Jones is a veteran, he’s a proven leader on and off the field, and he has post season experience. So odds are this is a very good match.

When I heard the news I admittedly thought back to that day last autumn – the last day. The moment that Jones was lifted in the top of the ninth inning to a well-deserved Standing O is one that I think will be remembered for some time in Baltimore circles. Adam Jones will always be an Oriole, regardless of which colors he’s wearing.

Obviously this kind of works out for Orioles fans also in that he’s going to a National League team. He won’t be competing with the Orioles per se, although the Birds do visit Arizona this year. However it certainly won’t for the most part be the Orioles that Jones knew with a few exceptions – the Davis’, Trumbo’s, etc of the world.

I hope that Orioles fans will join me in wishing Adam Jones the best in Arizona. Baseball is a better game with him in it, and as a starter at that. For what it’s worth, Orioles fans will in theory get a shot to see Jones play in person in the region this year. Arizona comes to Nationals Park in Washington on June 13-16th. And incidentally, does anyone recall who the first manager in Arizona Diamondbacks’ history was? That would be BUCK SHOWALTER!

Baltimore Orioles: Will free agents sign this week?

Baltimore Orioles’ pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota on Wednesday. Those who haven’t already reported, that is. All position players are to have reported by next week, and Opening Day for the Florida Grapefruit League is one week from this coming Saturday.

This off season has been all but void of big free agent signings. The likes of Adam Jones are the least of the free agents still out there (obviously Machado and Harper are the big ones). However this week is the final opportunity for players to sign with a team and still have a semi-normal spring training. I say semi-normal because any guy who signs this week is going to have to make travel arrangements to either Florida or Arizona, lodging arrangements for the next 5-6 weeks, etc. That normally happens over the course of the off season – assuming that guys know where they’re going.

However keep in mind also that these spring games aren’t just a dog and pony show. They don’t count towards the season standings, however they do mean something. Players need them to get into game shape. I’m talking timing at the plate, routes to get to balls on defense, and in some cases guys literally having to “get in shape.” In sum, there’s more of an emphasis on fundamentals as opposed to during the regular season.

I’ll point out the likes of Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, who both signed during spring training last year with the O’s. Between the two of them, they had one spring start. And that was Cashner’s, which came late in spring training. Both pitchers struggled in the first month of the season. So arguing that these games don’t have meaning isn’t really fair, because that in and of itself should prove that they do. What players will do in spring training in the next few weeks will make a difference when the season starts.

So to me it stands to reason that we’ll see some signings this week. Will any of those be by the Orioles? That remains to be seen.

Baltimore Orioles: Frank Robinson and Adam Jones

The Baltimore Orioles and the baseball world lost a good one this week in Frank Robinson. This much we know. I think that part of why he’s so beloved in Baltimore and will always be thought of as an Oriole (despite playing more years in Cincinnati) is because he turned the Orioles into champions. Or at the very least, they became champions upon his arrival.

The Orioles were already a good team; they had a budding organization that was almost built into a proven winner. Then Robinson was added to an already potent lineup, and suddenly the Orioles won the World Series in his first year with the team (1966). With Frank it wasn’t so much his play on the field. That set a standard of par in and of itself; as a player, Robinson was never anything less than outstanding.

However more so with Frank Robinson, it was about his leadership both on a off the field. He didn’t expect excuses from his teammates as to why they screwed up or why this or that happened. Over the past couple of days I’ve heard more than one or Robinson’s former teammates say how if they committed an error in the field, it wasn’t a coach they were worried about facing, it was Frank. While Robinson could be tough at times, it was all in the interest of making the team better.

Over forty years after the Orioles traded for Frank Robinson, they made another trade. This time however, the centerpiece of the trade wasn’t an established winner or a proven talent. It was a guy named Adam Jones, who had an incredible upside and who represented a potential bright future for the young Orioles.

I don’t need to go into too much detail about Adam Jones. We all know who he is and what he’s accomplished in Baltimore. (We all also know that he’s still a free agent lingering out there ready to be signed…but that’s another story for another day.) Let’s be clear, Jones didn’t bring a world championship to Baltimore. He tried valiantly, but it just never happened.

The Orioles also had further to climb to get to that level when Jones arrived as opposed to when Robinson came aboard. However Adam Jones did very similar things on a slightly smaller scale for the Orioles and the city of Baltimore. I suspect that wherever Jones goes for the remainder of his career, he’ll always be seen and remembered as an Oriole – much like Frank Robinson. Similarly, his play on the field spoke for itself. But it was also the way he conducted himself that stood out.

Jones was an example to players young and old who came through the Orioles during his tenure. Again similar to Robinson, he held teammates to a high standard. And that began with him taking accountability when he made mistakes. However with his play on the field and with how he conducted himself on and off of it, he immediately endeared himself to the Baltimore community and to his teammates and coaches.

Again, Frank Robinson brought championships to Baltimore. However it can’t be stressed enough that Adam Jones helped to guide the Orioles further than they had gone in a generation. I don’t think that will ever be forgotten. Frank Robinson’s legacy with the Orioles has been set for some time. However I think you can put Jones up there with Frank as a similar-type character in the history of this team and this city. Neither time nor consequence will ever dim the glory of their deeds.

Baltimore Orioles: Should the Birds reunite with Adam Jones?

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.

Baltimore Orioles: All’s quiet with Adam Jones

For now, there’s no real news out of former Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones. Jones of course held his annual Stay Hungry Tailgate before a Baltimore Ravens game, raising lots of money for charity. There’s no word on whether he intends to continue the tradition assuming his days with the Orioles are over.

Jones has stated on many instances that he feels he still has some gas left in the tank. And I would agree with him. My personal opinion is that his days in Baltimore are over. And I think he seems to sense that as well. However if he remained unsigned would the Orioles consider bringing him back for the right price?

The answer to that has to be YES. It has to be. Because Jones isn’t wrong when he says that he still has something left. However odds are he’s going to look for more money than the Orioles are going to be willing to pay him, and justifiably so. But if we see an off season in MLB like we did last year (where teams flat out didn’t sign anyone), could the Orioles possibly end up with Jones returning?

Again, the answer to that has to be yes. I just wouldn’t hold my break on it happening. Ironically outfield is one area in which the Orioles do have some depth. And with the likes of Mullins and Mancini remaining, I suspect that the future is bright. However I think that the future is bright for Adam Jones as well. And wherever he ends up is a team and fan base that will be lucky to have him. I suspect he’d be an asset wherever he goes, and in any role.

Baltimore Orioles: How active in free agency?

How active will the Baltimore Orioles be in free agency going into 2019? If ownership’s comments are to be believed, the answer is not very active. We know that the Orioles want to cut payroll by a country mile, which is mainly what would prevent Adam Jones from coming back.

If Jones has no suitors and the price drops, I suspect that the Orioles would be amenable to bringing him back. But that’s a big if. We all remember what happened last year.

But whether it’s Jones or anyone else, I don’t see the Orioles making classic Duquette-era signings as spring training closes. I take them at their word for the time being. The goal is to get younger.

However again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a move, provided that the player came cheap. And that could be for Adam Jones or anyone else. The fact is that even on a young team you still need someone to show young guys the way. That’s one of the reasons I thought it was a mistake to get rid of Jones.

But I digress. The Birds will probably be active in the Rule 5 draft again, where they could presumably acquire another young player. Does all of that mean that the 2019 Opening Day lineup might resemble that of the final game of 2018? Possibly. But time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: Ask Adam Jones about Boston fans

The Baltimore Orioles and Adam Jones will tell you about Boston fans. Now in general, Fenway Park has some of the best fans you’ll find in any sport. But there are exceptions to every rule. And many of those exceptions happen to come in Boston sports events.

On Sunday a Kansas City Chiefs player scored a touchdown in their game against the New England Patriots. The player ran out of the endzone and towards the stands, where he was flipped the bird. While vulgar, it’s probably not over-the-line for fans at a game. What is over-the-line however is what came with the flipping of the bird…

…the player had beer thrown on him. By a fan. Yes, you read that right (if you hadn’t already heard the story). A fan actually threw beer on a player. Maybe I’m cut from a different cloth than some people, but I’d never do that to someone. If someone did it to me I’d view it as akin to throwing a first punch.

There’s no circumstance in which this is EVER acceptable. But it’s not the first time Boston sports fans have shown this ugly side of themselves. As I said, for the most part the fans at Fenway Park are some of the best in the business. But we all remember the situation last year in which Adam Jones dealt with racial slurs in the outfield.

Again, there are lines you don’t cross. Telling an opposing player that they’re no good or have no business being on the field is one thing. Right or not, that’s part of what professional athletes sign up for. It’s part of the job. But racial slurs are well over the line. And again, that happened in the same city that threw beer at an opponent last night.

On top of that, Joel Ward (an African-American) of the Washington Capitals had a similar experience to Jones when he scored the series-winning goal to defeat the Boston Bruins in a playoff series a few years ago. As stand-alone incidents each one of these are unacceptable. But put them together, and it speaks to a louder problem. Whether anyone chooses to admit it or not, Boston may have a race problem.

So should opposing players fear playing there? The Orioles are about to have a lot of young players; what are they to think? The best and only way to address this is for the decent fans of Boston to police the situation. If they see something, they need to say something. And that goes for all cities – including Baltimore for that matter. Am I suggesting that people should rat out their own when it comes to these types of things? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Baltimore Orioles: Past the end of the line

Yesterday was both amazing and tough for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans alike. Especially the likes of Adam Jones and Buck Showalter. Neither is expected to return, although we should always throw in the term but you never know. And if the love fest we saw yesterday is any indication, I think most fans would be fine with that.

Specifically regarding Showalter, rumor has it that a formal decision and/or announcement is expected sooner rather than later. So in theory that could come as early as today. If in fact Buck’s out, I wouldn’t necessarily expect a new manager to be hired immediately. Most teams wait until the conclusion of the World Series to make those hires, first off because odds are some of the coaches involved could be candidates. But it allows the post-season to take center stage as opposed to a team not involved.

Showalter’s contract runs through the end of October, so he’s not going anywhere in the immediacy of today. And he’ll still be on hand and have the title of manager on October 27th when he and his wife Angela host the annual Kids Peace Trick-or-Trot. While yesterday’s festivities focused more on Adam Jones, that might be a great opportunity for fans to say goodbye to Buck if in fact he’s out.

This season was trying on everyone involved, yes including writers. There were times back in June where I looked to this day. However the Orioles always have a way of pulling you back in, and we certainly saw that yesterday. And regardless of whether a season was good or bad, there’s always a sad finality when the tarp goes on the field for the final time.

But that’s especially true this year with the circumstances surrounding the end of the season. I said this a lot yesterday, but nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. And that’s quite frankly due to the fact that Baltimore is special. The people are special, and the teams are special. When the litany of trades went down this past summer I reminded fans that Baltimore really loves to embrace it’s athletes. And the next generation of athletes waiting to be embraced may well have been acquired in those trades.

The nickname “Smalltimore” doesn’t exist for nothing. Players come here, and in many cases become a part of the community. Adam Jones certainly did. They start families here, their kids go to school with your kids, you attend community meetings with them, etc. That’s what makes days like yesterday so hard. But it should also serve as a reminder that this isn’t just any team or any city. It’s the Baltimore Orioles. And they’re a special part of a special community.

There is a silver lining to 2018 for those who love regular season baseball. It doesn’t involve the Orioles, but the regular season isn’t quite done yet. Milwaukee will travel to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs at 1 PM this afternoon, and Colorado will travel to Chavez Ravine to play the LA Dodgers at 4 PM. Those games will decide the NL Central and West champions respectively. The losers will square off in the NL Wild Card game – tomorrow.

These games are playoff games for all intents and purposes. They’re certainly being treated as such, and justifiably so. But on paper, they actually go down as “regular season game 163.” Former 2018 Orioles Jonathan Schoop (Milwaukee) and Manny Machado (LAD) will be playing today. And the 2018 post-season is littered with former Orioles.

As for me, the season never really ends. Anyone who’s read me for some time knows that I’ll give you a full season recap at some point this week. It may not be pretty, but I’ll do it. I always take a few days after the season ends before doing that however, if for no other reason than to “digest” the entire thing. But you’ll get it – later this week, as I said.

In closing for today, I do want to thank you the fans. Certainly this season wasn’t what we thought it would be, but I appreciate any and all who read this column even once. And stick with me, as in typical Baltimore fashion, I don’t take days off!

Baltimore Orioles: It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday

At the end of the day for Adam JonesBuck Showalter, the rest of the Baltimore Orioles, and the Orioles’ fans, it was the memories that counted. Certainly not of this forgettable season. But of the past ten or so years. Nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles, and that was on display once again in this afternoon’s series finale.

For the record, the O’s took the series finale with Houston and the season finale, 4-0. Lost in the shuffle of this game’s backstory is the fact that the three Oriole pitchers combined for a one-hitter. This stellar effort was spearheaded by starter Jimmy Yacabonis, who certainly made a strong case to have a shot at a starting rotation spot coming out of spring training next year. Yacabonis’ line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

Again, the details are unimportant. But the Birds put up their four runs in the fourth inning. And that was all they needed. Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single gave them a 1-0 lead, and he would later score on Tim Beckham‘s RBI-double. Renato Nunez would add an RBI-double of his own, and he would later score on a wild pitch. And as they say, that’s your ballgame!

Well…not quite. Everyone knows the stakes, and they certainly had nothing to do with today’s game. Buck Showalter started the day by putting Adam Jones in center field for one last time, albeit just for the first inning before he went back to right. That meant that Jones would get to lead the team onto the field, potentially for the final time. However when the time came, Jones realized that his teammates had stayed back…

…Jones was the only person on the field, and his teammates stood behind him applauding from the dugout – along with the almost 25K people in attendance. It was a poignant moment; as I said, nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. The Houston dugout stood and applauded along with the Orioles, as did…the umpires. THE UMPIRES were standing at home plate politely clapping for Adam Jones. Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever seen that.

Jones was given a well-deserved standing ovation everytime he came to the plate. The stat book shows that he went 0-for-4, but who among us really cares? Jones on the the day (all quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I appreciate everybody’s support. I just show up to work every day, so I appreciate the people who appreciate it.

Eleven years here, a lot of games, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, so I greatly appreciate it from the fans’ standpoint. My teammates for sending me out there on an island all by myself. I didn’t know that was going to happen. Buck for letting me have an inning in center field, where I started at.

It’s been a cool weekend. Like I said, I’m very appreciative and humbled that people concur. Now the game’s over, the season’s over and the next chapter starts. Time to be a full-time father.

Speaking of Buck, he in theory was the day’s other “honoree.” Needless to say, it’s tough to honor managers the way that the crowd did with Adam Jones. And Buck’s not the type of guy who would want that. According to multiple reports, he met with an ownership representative late last night. It’s unclear what that means, but if his comments are to be believed he himself is unsure of his status for next year even now.

There was one “Buck moment.” He came out to argue a HBP, and a smattering of applause gained some momentum. When asked about it after the game, Showalter stayed true to form:

We won the game. They were happy we won. I’m not going to go there. Thanks. You know how much it means to me.

Needless to say, Buck Showalter will always mean something to the fans here in Baltimore. He managed the Orioles for longer than he managed any other franchise. He also managed Adam Jones for longer than he ever managed any other player. The connection will always be strong.

Buck sent Jones back out for the ninth inning in right field, but before the inning could begin he substituted for him, allowing the fans to pay homage to Jones. The game stopped for about five minutes, while Jones embraced each of his teammates and coaches, while the crowd gave him a final Standing O. Needless to say, it was a moment that nobody (player, coach, fan, or writer) who was there will ever forget.

Let the record state the as miserable as the 2018 season was for the Baltimore Orioles, they won on the last day. But again, today it was the memories that counted more than anything else. Adam Jones and Buck Showalter are forever a part of Baltimore. And Baltimore’s forever a part of them. Does that mean they’re irreplaceable? Absolutely not. They would never suggest that they are. But they, along with the memories of the past 8-10 years are a part of the Baltimore story.

And incidentally, it’s a beautiful story. I’d like to hope and believe that I tell my part of it as well as I can. But while time will go on, today was hard for a lot of people. It was hard in a beautiful kind of way. Yet while time goes on, let us not forget the closing strains of a well-known Boyz II Men song:

And I’ll take with me the memories, to be my sunshine after the rain. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

%d bloggers like this: