Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adam Jones is Staying

The Baltimore Orioles will officially announce the reported 6 year, $85.5 million deal today at 11:30 and Adam Jones will be patrolling the outfield at Camden Yards until 2018.

Keeping a talent like Adam Jones in the organization is a good thing but the immediate questions you have when your team announces the largest free agent deal in their history is a) will Jones be worth the $14.25 million average salary he will receive and b) how will this affect the team if they choose to sign extensions with other young talent in the coming years.

Regarding the first question, I think Jones is likely to be worth every penny or at least he will be for most of the contract. According to's player valuations, Jones was worth $10.5 and $13.0 million during 2010 and 2011 respectively and will be worth far more than that this season. I think even if he regresses a bit, he will at least approach his average annual salary in value.'s Dave Cameron seems to think so too which is more than good enough for me.

Regarding the second question, even if Jones' career goes horribly, horribly wrong, this is not the kind of contract that will cripple a franchise. You are buying out one of his arbitration years where he was likely to make $9-10 million in 2013 anyway.  The Orioles have Mark Reynolds' salary ($7.83 mil) and Kevin Gregg's salary ($5.8 mil) come off the books after this season. Brian Roberts' $10 mil salary comes off the books after 2013. Having $14 mil locked up in one player is not going to kill the team, even if Jones pulls a Vernon Wells on us. We have young, relatively cheap talent coming through the system led by Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado and even less heralded players like Xavier Avery have shown that they can contribute at the major league level. This is still a team that can contend without huge escalations in payroll.

Some fans do not believe in Adam Jones. They will not be happy with this deal. But I am a big believer in Jones' power potential and I think this season we are seeing him come into his own as an elite slugger. Multiple 30 homer seasons are in his future and between that and his "hit tool", I am not concerned about his lack of walks or his free-swinging ways. And by the time he gets to the age that I would be worried about it, he will no longer be playing under this contract.

The future looks bright for these Orioles, for the first time in 15 years, and Jones will be leading the way.

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