Rumblings began on Friday morning that the Orioles and center fielder Adam Jones were close to finalizing an extension that would keep the O’s star in Baltimore for the foreseeable future.
This news sort of came out of nowhere, and for O’s fans it was absolute music to our ears.
Jones has been a guy who has been outspoken over the years about his displeasure with losing, and many fans feared the worst – that the young slugger would bolt B’More first chance he got to sign with a powerhouse like Boston or New York, or with a west coast team like San Diego or Los Angeles to be closer to his home.
Instead, Jones has decided to try to see this Oriole turnaround through here in Charm City, as the deal was finalized over the weekend.
The specifics of the contract – the largest in Oriole history, at six years and $85.5 million, eclipsing those signed by Nick Markakis in 2006 (6 years, $66 million), and Miguel Tejada in 2004 (6 years, $72 million).
In an instant positive reaction to the news, Oriole Park at Camden Yards experienced its largest walk-up crowd EVER on Friday night.
Now if that’s not a vote of public support – and a black-and-orange nation rising up immediately and declaring “if you commit to winning, we will come back!” – then I don’t know what is. The deal wasn’t even done yet, but just the fact that it was rumored to be in the works made O’s fans take notice, and want to go down to the Yard and support their first-place ball club.
I’ll let the stat-heads argue over whether or not Jones is “worth” the money the Orioles decided to pay him.
I’m a simple fan. While I absolutely recognize the value of sabermetrics, I still like stats like home runs, RBI, and batting average. In those categories (as well as several more advanced ones), Jones is the Orioles’ best player.
That’s a guy I want around for a good long time.
Signing him now, and making sure he will spend his prime years in an Orioles uniform, was really the only way to go. If Peter Angelos and Dan Duquette had let Jones have the chance to even test the free agent waters, many O’s fans would have considered it the last straw.
Of course, since the rumor surfaced, the team is a wonderful 1-3, but let’s not let that damper our enthusiasm at the moment.
AJ is here to stay.
In his press conference on Sunday, Jones made O’s fans proud:
“I fit here in this city. I fit here on this team, I fit in at Camden Yards. I really don’t see myself wearing another white uniform that doesn’t have Orioles across the chest. After I put that in perspective of what, if I won here, if we win here this is my championship, this is our championship. I’m not part of someone else’s championship. Putting all that in perspective, that makes me even hungrier to win. As a competitor that’s ultimately what I want, beat the odds. Here we can really beat the odds and I do want to be a part of it.”
As @SimplyAJ10 would say, “brackin.”