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The Orioles are on the verge of signing Adam Jones to a long term deal

May 25, 2012, 8:14 AM EDT

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that the Orioles and Adam Jones are on the verge of signing a long term contract extension.

The terms are not known but Rosenthal says that the numbers are “well north” of M. Tejada’s six-year, $72 million deal and Nick Markakis‘ six-year, $66.1 million extension.

Jones is currently signed through this year at $6.15 million and has one more year of arbitration eligibility.  He turns 27 in August and is in the midst of a career year, hitting .311/.357/.601 with 14 homers.

  1. atworkident - May 25, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    That is great news!

  2. dodger88 - May 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    With all of these pre-free agent deals, we look to be heading into a new era where there are a handfull of elite free agents each year and the balance made up of veterans trying to hang on. The importance of good drafts and player development will rise to levels last seen in the 1960’s and 70’s.

    • psuravens19 - May 25, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      and I think this is a good thing…

      • bmorelikeme - May 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        100% agreed

        The advantage needs to swing back towards those front offices that make good decisions, not the ones that simply have more financial resources than the others.

        Also congrats to AJ. He plays the game with alot of fire and totally deserves the long term deal.

      • Ben - May 25, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        It could also cripple a lot of small-to-mid market teams. See for example, the Twins.

  3. burgundyandgold - May 25, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    The best part of this is that all the O’s had to give up for him was Eric Bedard who was a flash in the pan. The O’s are really starting to turn the corner. I do not expect their hot start to last this season but they could certainly finish at .500 or a little better. There is finally some excitement for this team after a decade and a half of misery.

  4. paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    It’ll be interesting to see what the final numbers are. Jones has been around a while, and has mostly been a slightly above average MLB player despite his great tools. If they sign him to a huge deal based on the last 2 months….that’ll probably end badly….it generally does when a player with a long track record of being okay is is signed to an extension during his “breakout year”. In other words, if it is your 5th full season in MLB when you “breakout”, the likelihood that the new level of performance is sustainable is low.

    • zackattack410 - May 25, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Wow dude. What evidence do you have to support your claims? “Jones has been around a while.” LOL.
      At 26, Jones is one of the top 3 defensive CFs in the game. Yes he is swinging a hot bat, but Major League history shows that “average” to “above average” hitters become elite at age 27.
      Go somewhere else.

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        It’s called data. Freely available on line. Jones is nothing like a “top 3 defensive CF in the game”….feel free to provide evidence.

      • madhatternalice - May 25, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        I’ll give him a hand:

        2012
        Range Factor 2.84 (first among MLB CFs)
        Double Plays 0 (tied for third among MLB CFs)
        VORP 17

        2011
        Range Factor 2.67 (second among MLB CFs)
        Double Plays 5 (tied for second among MLB CFs)
        VORP 39.5

        2010
        Range Factor 2.91 (first among MLB CFs)
        Double Plays 6 (tied for first among MLB CFs)
        VORP 23.2

        So, what does this tell us? That Adam Jones plays a mean CF and has for a few years now. MATH!

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        You might want to use some 21st century stats….VORP? Seriously? Who still calculates that?

      • phillyphreak - May 25, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        Paper, BP still calculates VORP on all of their player pages. Not in heavy use in analysis but still.

        That aside BP also ranks Jones as a pretty darn good CF (see RJ Anderson’s transaction analysis column of this signing).

      • madhatternalice - May 25, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        “You might want to use some 21st century stats….VORP? Seriously? Who still calculates that?”

        Translation: “I can’t argue against any of the data you provided, and since it makes my point incorrect, I’ll just nitpick.”

        The best of all internet comment responses!

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        Oh, I could argue easily….feel free to check DRS or UZR, each of which show Jones to be a below average CF.

      • phillyphreak - May 25, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        The only issue with that is that no defensive metrics are perfect even if there is three years of data.

  5. edgarallan926 - May 25, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Name a few, I’m curious. To me, in this new age of sabermetrics, I find it disappointing that so many people go against the notion that people can just get better. Have you ever thought that Jones is getting better because he’s matured and his plate discipline is at a whole new level. Because of his new found selectiveness, he’s seeing better pitches to hit and drive. And honestly tell me, how many O’s games have you watched.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Of course players can get better. At which point do you determine that happened?

      Here is the question: if you have to make a choice, which sample do you rely on?

      4 Years and 2272 plate appearances during which Jones had and OBP of .322 (AL average was .330), SLG of .442 (average = .417), wOBA of .332 (average = .328), and wRC+ of 101 (average = 100), with across the board below average fielding metrics.

      or

      7 weeks and 196 PA with a .357 OBP, .601 SLG, .408 wOBA, and 161 wRC+?

      If you always bet on the larger sample size, you will be correct far more often than if you bet on the smaller one.

      Jones walk rate this year is similar to his career average (about 1/2 of league average), his K rate is similar to his career average (essentially league average). There is nothing in the numbers to suggest that he has changed his approach, meaning that the most likely reason for his current numbers is natural variation over a small sample size.

      In this age of sabermetrics, I find it disappointing that people still construct arguments completely on narrative and ignore all the data.

      I don’t expect Orioles fans to not hope this continues, but this really doesn’t look like sustainable performance.

      • ravensgrl - May 25, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        Rather than looking at the 4 years as an average, look at his yearly performance and compare his year to year statistics. He’s stayed consistent or improved in all of the statistics you listed above.

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        Being the same for 4 years and then suddenly having a jump in performance is more indicative of a SSS effect than steady improvement.

        Again, the underlying numbers indicate he isn’t doing anything different…do you really expect him to hit 48 HRs/year with 40 2Bs from here on out?

      • skeleteeth - May 25, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        @paperlions

        That would be nice and I hope it happens and Jones turns into everything he was supposed to be for the Orioles. But I’m with you, 100%, that this year does not warrant an extension of such magnitude. He is not Tulo, Longoria, Weaver no matter how many eggs B-more puts in that basket.

    • skipperxc - May 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Vernon Wells is the most obvious one. And he was a lot better than Adam Jones has been over the first five years of their respective careers. Hasn’t gone so well for him ever since.

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        Yeah, I didn’t want to mention that one (or Alex Rios or Carlos Lee or any of the middling players that are paid far too much (e.g. Aybar) compared to their production)…and don’t like specific comps, in general. The “rule” is generally true though….most guys that are 5 years into their MLB careers that have “break out years” are actually having career years thanks to a confluence of skill, age (26-29 are a players prime years), and chance. Paying a price that reflects career year performance instead of career average year performance is a bad overpay.

    • pbannard - May 25, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Adam Lind, Alex Rios, Darren Dreifort. Sure, this may be real development, which would make it a solid deal. It may also be a hot two months. Paperlions makes a fair point, and I would add to it by noting that it is generally best not to negotiate when the other side is at its peak value. I can’t imagine you’d pay that much more in a month or two if Jones keeps this up, but you certainly have a chance to save some money if he regresses back towards his career numbers.

      • bmorelikeme - May 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM

        As someone who has watched his career unfold over the past few years, I can say with certainty that its has been a slow maturation that is finally coming to fruition.

        Early on you could always see the raw talent, but you just knew that as soon as he had 2 strikes on him he was chasing the breaking pitch in the dirt. Over the past few years, there has been great improvement to the point where I would argue his batting eye is well above average. His hitting numbers have followed suit. Obviously, I’m wearing orange color glasses, but I think its sustainable. G O’s.

      • edgarallan926 - May 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Is it fair to assume he’s reached his peak?? He turns 27 this year and the O’s will probably sign him to a 5-6 yr deal at under $100 million. If he averages .285/22/85 in those years while still maintaining Gold Glove defense and being a clubhouse leader how would he not be worth that?? If he has a few outlier years above or below those numbers then he would still be performing at a higher level than most of the CF’s in the league at under $20 million per.

        And agreed regarding Vernon Wells but he signed his deal when he was 32. That was just dumb on the Angels’ parts.

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM

        Wells is 33 right now. He signed his deal after 2006…when he was just about to turn 28….essentially, one year older than Jones is right now.

  6. burgundyandgold - May 25, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    It does not matter what the stats say. If the Orioles want to keep the kid they need to give him a contract. It is worth the risk – if it turns into a bad contract so be it. I would rather roll the dice on Jones who is a known entity for the Orioles than to over spend on someone else s slightly above average player. He fits on this team at this time.

  7. madnova - May 25, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I think this calls for a celebration. He should take out a few grand in singles, hit the scrip clubs, and make it rain.

    Wait, I’m on the wrong sport site.
    Carry on.

  8. ravenscaps48 - May 25, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    FASCINATING

  9. rockthered1286 - May 25, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    What it comes down to for me is the O’s taking care of their players FIRST. If you want to begin the process of actually attracting FA’s, they need to see something like this happen. How attractive is Baltimore right now? Not at all, nor has it been for years. But to see the O’s lock up guys like Jones, Markakis, Hardy, hopefully Weiters soon, shows some of these FA’s we are serious about becoming a contender, which generates slightly more interest. Is there a possiblity Jones drops off? Of course, just like there is with every player in the entire league. Hell, look at Pujols. Who ever thought he’d drop off this much? (between Wells, Hunter and Pujols maybe it’s the Angels fault?!) But there’s also the possiblilty he’s coming into his own and will finally mature into the player we’ve hoped he’d become. Think of it this way: say we don’t negotiate or low ball because of his “5 year numbers to date.” Jones laughs it off knowing he’ll get more money this offseason, jumps ship, ends up in NY or Boston, and spends the rest of his career terrorizing the O’s (see Mussina, Mike). It’s a chance we can’t take in Baltimore, and in my opinion, the right move. Lock him up. Show the league we mean business, and hopefully get back to a team that FA’s have interest in (hope Oswalt is reading this). This move is not only good for Jones, but HUGE for the Baltimore Orioles organization and the city.

  10. Ben - May 25, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I know I’m going to get downrated because it seems like this thread is one huge lovefest for the Orioles and Adam Jones, but I don’t really get this, in the abstract.
    The way small to mid-market teams succeed is through drafting and player development, not huge deals. Now, there has to be a happy medium between, say, the Athletics, who let anyone with a major-league pulse go for prospects, and the Twins who have seen their biggest signings hobble the team for the foreseeable future. But I don’t see what the Orioles gain here.
    Jones is off to an awesome start, the Orioles are unexpectedly contenders, which is awesome, but that doesn’t mean they should mortgage the future. The fact is that Jones could end up more like Vernon wells than Curtis Granderson. His defense has been below average for years, his walk rate is minuscule. The only difference in his numbers I see is a HR/FB rate that has spiked from 16% to 25.9%. He’s hitting the ball HARD though.
    I’m a believer to some extent, but I’m not a believer to the tune of 6 years, 105 million, or whatever.

    • bmorelikeme - May 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Yes there is obvious risk, but there is the flip side to you Vernon Wells argument. He could develop into a perennial allstar. He is still only 26, and plays in a game where the consensus prime 27-33ish.

      The alternative is to let him walk/trade him and hope that whatever replacements you come up with can replicate his production. I for one am glad that the O’s have shown a commitment to winning with their current core for once. Also, its not my money.

  11. tcostant - May 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    If he doesn’t get, at least, what Ryan Zimmerman got from the Nationals in March then his agent isn’t paying attention. Both were two season away from free agency and Jones is playing much better. At least $100M or no deal.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      Ryan Zimmerman (27): 30.7 WAR, 118 wRC+

      Adam Jones (26): 12 .0 WAR, 103 wRC+

  12. dunnd4d4 - May 25, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Let me help you guys that don’t understand this signing. First of all the orioles are not as small to mid market as you think they are. Angelos has money. He owns TV rights to two franchises. Had the orioles gotten off to a bad start Jones would have been gone by july however their hot start has forced their hand, and made them have to sign Jones. If they would have let him walk like they did Mussina the city would have been furious. The orioles for 15 years have lacked something that Boston and New York both had, which was a captain and vocal leader. They have found theirs, and he just so happens to be a power hitting gold glove cf. Anyone who watches the orioles can see the way Adam has grown into the leader his is, and have watched as he adjusted and doesn’t swing on the low and away sliders anymore. If you don’t understand this signing your not from Baltimore. Kudos to Adam Jones and the rest of the O’s for forcing Angelos to sign him. Now go get oswalt and lets go to the playoffs.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      It isn’t a question of understanding the signing, it is a question of thinking the signing will be a good one or not. We don’t know the numbers (years or dollars), so it can’t be judged at this point, but if this turns out to be $100M deal for a player like Jones…it’ll probably be a bad signing (whether we understand why the Orioles do it or not).

  13. dunnd4d4 - May 25, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Ben “His defense has been below average for years” He is a gold glove winner…..

    • Ben - May 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      That’s funny. Gold Glove winners are often amongst the worst defenders in baseball. For example, Nick Markakis. The Gold Glove is a joke.

      • Loose Changeup - May 25, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        Really? Nick is often at or near the top of the list in outfield assists. He made zero errors in 2011. How is his gold glove a joke?

        Oh, his range factor is low. But look who plays next to him in CF.

      • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        Because Markakis’ range has been below average for several years now. Outfield assists are nice, but every ball a RF doesn’t get to is a hit (usually an XBH), and the balls he fails to turn into outs that an average RF does turn into out outweigh the few extra assists he puts up each year.

  14. randygnyc - May 25, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    It is possible to get better. It’s the exception, not the rule, though. For whatever reason, I guy like Jose Bautista has gone from average to great. Why? Im not sure, but he has, so it’s possible.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      In Bautista’s case there were documented and publicized mechanical adjustments he made to his swing and to his approach at the plate, resulting in more patience and power (his walk rate went up significantly, and his strikeout rate went down significantly, providing evidence of change in his approach above and beyond the power numbers and anecdotes about mechanical adjustments)…..perhaps Jones has also made some adjustments, but I haven’t heard mention of such a thing, and they are not reflected in his baseline numbers…just looks like an unsustainable HR/FB ratio.

  15. bmorelikeme - May 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Paperlions, you really seem to hate the Orioles.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Yeah, hate ‘em….hate hate hate ‘em. /sarcasm

      I root for every AL east team not in NY or Boston (I dream of a Yankeeless and Red Soxless playoffs)….but those casual interests don’t mean I will ignore facts

  16. Future of Fantasy - May 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Most Orioles seem to be happy about this. So, despite the stats, this is probably an alright deal. Sometimes you have to overpay for fan favorites.

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