The Baltimore Orioles were able to avoid an arbitration hearing with center fielder Adam Jones yesterday. With Spring Training approaching the sides were able to agree on a one-year deal worth $6.15 million. Built-in incentives allow Jones the opportunity to earn as much as $6.65 million in 2012.
Much speculation has surrounded Jones this offseason. As one of the Orioles few young and enticing trade chips, some wondered if Baltimore would look to deal Jones.
The 26-year-old had his name tossed around in several trade rumors, including one involving Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado of the Atlanta Braves. However, no deal was reached and Jones is prepared to enter his fifth season with the Orioles.
Over his tenure in Baltimore, Jones has become a fan favorite. The toolsy player has maintained a line of .278/.322/.442 over his four seasons in Charm City. Jones compiled his most impressive numbers in 2011, posting an OPS of .785 with 25 home runs, 26 doubles, 83 RBI’s and 12 stolen bases over his 618 plate appearances.
While Jones and the Orioles have reportedly begun discussing a long-term extension, the center fielder’s future in Baltimore remains murky. If the Orioles start slow for yet another year and are out of contention by the All-Star break, the Birds could look to trade Jones.
Even if they decide to hold onto him throughout the year, Jones is set to hit free agency following the 2013 season. For this reason the Orioles figure to determine his future as a trade chip or long-term presence in their lineup in the not-too-distant future.
What are your thoughts on Jones? Should the Orioles look to build around him or trade him while his value’s peaked for as much young talent as they can?
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