Signing Jones tremendous step, but time will tell if it signals real change for Orioles

May 27, 2012 | Luke Jones

The Orioles appear to be moving in the right direction. With Brian Roberts and Zach Britton possibly on their way back to Baltimore in the coming weeks, they could provide contributions in the near future. In terms of long-term prosperity, pitcher Dylan Bundy and shortstop Manny Machado continue to develop as two of the best minor-league prospects in baseball.

If Baltimore is on the cusp of real contention in the next season or two, we still don’t know if Duquette will take the necessary steps to add a premium free-agent bat or a front-line starting pitcher in free agency to push the club over the top. At some point, the Orioles will need to risk a bad contract or two if they really want to give themselves a great opportunity to win a championship — not just hope all the chips fall in their favor.

The Jones deal is a very encouraging sign for the future of the Orioles — probably the best in the last seven or eight years — but it doesn’t answer that question of whether ownership will explore every avenue to win if the club is so close, it can taste it.

Jones made a commitment to the Orioles because he wants to win with the organization that thought highly enough of him to part with its best starting pitcher to bring him to Baltimore. He sees much promise after four years of losing, and he chose to commit even though he would have likely received similar — and maybe more — money 18 months from now in free agency.

He wanted to stay in the place he considers to be his baseball home. The Orioles and their fans should be thankful and celebrate that. But they also felt the same way after Roberts and Nick Markakis chose to re-sign with Baltimore in recent years.

And winning didn’t follow those decisions.

“Everyone knows I’m not from Baltimore,” Jones said, “but this is now my town.”

With that proclamation, we can only hope times are truly changing for the Orioles.

And sustained winning is soon to follow.

Visit the Audio Vault to listen to the entire Adam Jones press conference here.