It’s not a very good time to be a Baltimore Orioles’ fan. The club is coming off their 14th straight losing season and has now finished in the basement of the American League East four consecutive years. With all of the losing, and a lack of any light at the end of the tunnel, many have suggested it’s time for the O’s to start trading some of their more established talent. One such name that’s come up in several rumors this offseason is Adam Jones. CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff examined whether or not trading Jones would be a wise move for the Orioles.
Finding bright spots on a team that lost 93 games can be difficult. On a team such as the Orioles, Jones certainly gave fans a reason to tune in night in and night out. The 26-year-old had another solid season, hitting at a clip of .280/.319/.466 with 26 doubles, 25 home runs and 83 RBI’s.
Joining Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and Jeremy Guthrie as one of the faces of the Orioles’ franchise, Jones is adored by the teams’ fans. Though he grew up on the west coast, Jones has said time and time again that he loves playing in Baltimore.
Most clubs look to build up the middle, focusing on the positions of catcher, shortstop and center fielder. In all three areas, the Orioles have solid young talent. Wieters and recent addition J.J. Hardy were strong performers in 2011 as was Jones.
At this point, the Orioles haven’t made a move to lock him up long-term, but you can tell the club thinks highly of AJ’s services. Manager Buck Showalter praised the center fielder’s efforts in 2011, and the club awarded Jones with his first MVO (Most Valuable Oriole) this offseason.
Showalter has gone on record as saying the club isn’t shopping Jones around. A scout Dubroff spoke with said this is a wise stance and that if the team is “willing to move him, they’re stupid”. The scout says guys like Jones “don’t grow on trees”, stating that center fielders of Jones’ caliber “are hard to come by”.
While the Orioles and most fans might agree with his sentiment, I couldn’t disagree more. As many of you may know by now, I myself am a fan of the O’s. I love Jones, his personality and what he brings to the table each day for the Birds. But, at this point, the club has to be willing to listen on everyone.
I don’t believe the Orioles should be actively shopping Jones this offseason. Listening and actively shopping are certainly two different things.
Even competing in the AL Beast, the O’s offense isn’t too bad. The many questions surrounding the team involve Baltimore’s young arms. Guys like Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and even Chris Tillman should be given another year to show what they can do, if for no other reason than because so much is riding on them.
All, outside of Britton, performed well below what was expected of them in 2011. If it’s more of the same in 2012, you have to start getting creative regarding getting new, young talent into the system.
Hopefully the O’s can add the right pieces, the veterans continue their solid showings, the young arms show improvement and the team as a whole takes a step forward in 2012. If not, the Orioles will seriously have to consider trading some of their top talent, and that includes Adam Jones.
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