I’m in the camp that believes Jones got overpaid for what he’s done so far, but EVERY free agent worth his salt – and Jones is definitely worth his – always gets more money than he is supposed to get. Jones had one really good season – 2011 – and a couple of years where he looked like he was going to be good. And, of course, he got off to a torrid start this year, which, as Duquette also noted, forced the Orioles into doing something they probably thought they could put off until the off-season.
But I’m of the mindset that Jones parlayed his really good 2011 and terrific 2012 start into a mega-deal in part because he knew the dirty little secret — he knew, after 14 years of losing, that the first guy up to the bank window at Camden Yards might indeed cash in on the fact that club hasn’t posted a winning season since Clinton was President. He knew – and he was right – that the first guy in, the first player to say “I’ll stay and stick this out here” would be the one to get an extra $15 million or so. I don’t care what the fancy math tells you or what “Wins Above Replacement” says — I think Jones is a $12 million a year player or thereabouts who might have an $18 million season this year. But I also believe he deserves “faith money” for deciding to forego his free agency and stay in orange. And he got it.
I love all the cool stuff Jones said about wanting to stay in Baltimore and make this “his” championship instead of going to New York and just being another superstar on loan with a nice house in Westchester who helps the Bronx giants keep on keeping on. If the Orioles ever do win a World Series with Adam Jones here, he’ll be right. The title will be all the more special because he decided to stick it out here and try and do it by being a leader, not a follower. There’s something to be said for that, especially in this day and age when the 26-year old could have easily just said, “I think I’ll wait this out and see what kind of cake I can rake in as a free agent.”
Now, it’s up to the Orioles to make sure the next six years of Adam Jones’ career are worth the decision he made to stay here. That’s not a concept I’m entirely comfortable with, although the prospect of a team that includes Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado certainly helps ease any fears that the Orioles are poised to regress after this blistering 29-20 start to 2012. Because the Orioles have lost for so long, it’s very easy to just assume they’re going to continue doing so. That’s the way I felt in 2008, 2009 and 2010 — and lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened. They just kept on losing. I’m hoping those times are about to change, if not this year, then next season for sure.
No matter what happens throughout the remainder of 2012, the Adam Jones signing was the right thing, at the right time, with the right player.
He deserved it.
And so did the fans.
For once, the Orioles did something that made us think they actually want to win.
Now, we just have to hope they continue with that philosophy over the next couple of years.