The story of Adam Jones over the trade deadline was a curious one. For a player to stay with a team and be questioned over whether they have the interests of the team at heart or not, is an extreme rarity. While his decision to stay has riled some Orioles fans, the majority realize that he has earned the right to do what he wanted.
For a rental who is 33 with an OPS in the low 700’s, it’s doubtful that Baltimore would have got anything significant in return, but it’s clear that they were happy to take anything they could get. For the remaining months of the season, Jones will be one of the last significant links between the old and the new. The business of baseball works both ways and, just as a club wants to do the best thing for itself, a player will want to be able to do the best thing for him and his family. In baseball, however, it’s rare that a player will be able to have such power over his future.
As shown on Baseball Reference, this is a breakdown of Jones’ standard batting stats.
[Source: Baseball Reference – Public Domain]
Glory over loyalty – the new way?
The collection of players that were traded had little idea of where they were going to be and, for players like Manny Machado, they still don’t know where they are going to be in a few months. Jones didn’t want that and you have to respect him for making a decision that he thought was in the best interests of him and his family. Whether or not that was the right decision remains debatable. He could have chased the glory and tried to win a World Series with a contender, and it could well be the last time he’ll ever get to attempt that. Though Jones’ right to stay has been further asserted by ESPN, amongst other news outlets, his days at Baltimore appear numbered in any case.
He took the safe option and you can hardly blame him. If he went to the Phillies, then he might have found himself consigned to a bit-part player role, in a team that could well miss out on the playoffs altogether. These days, staying out of the spotlight isn’t the best idea if you want one last big contract. Those that would rather see Jones gone do have some ammunition for the water cooler. All he can bring do for the team right now is help them avoid having their worst season ever. It has been a sobering season for the team but perhaps selling all the proverbial ‘family gold’ would have made it an even hollower one.
Adam Jones discusses his decision to stay with the Orioles
Jones to be inspiration for youth?
Being able to watch a player like Jones every night at least gives fans something to watch, when watching this team has been so difficult. It’s a team right now that is living for the occasional win against the likes of the Red Sox and the Yankees. The former’s potential to be a dominant force was most recently reflected upon by USA Today, and this stance extends to other circles. As of August 5, the former is now -700 on Betway, while the Orioles are +500,000. Ultimately, the Orioles are still in the process of working out how best to move on for the 2019 season.
It’s a long road back for Baltimore, and that magical 2014 season seems a very long time ago right now. It’s hard to predict when there will be another winning season for the Orioles, while their geographical peers thrive. The Red Sox and the Yankees seem to be in a very good position to have a dominant few years, so now looks like a good time to rebuild.
The right to leave with dignity
If nothing else, 2019 will see prospects emerge but, for the rest of this season, Adam Jones will be able to patrol centerfield at Camden Yards. In the short-term, his presence could yet help the younger men around him until the end of the year. It is something he has done since 2008 but Orioles fans shouldn’t be resentful of the fact that he could have had a new home sooner. Baltimore fans never get a chance to say a proper goodbye to most of their favorite players. Loyalty is a two-way street. And, if the sport gives you none, then you shouldn’t be expected to give any back. Jones acted in the best interests of his family and, as much as he earned the right to veto a trade, he’s also earned the right to a great send off.