BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles and the agent for center fielder Adam Jones are nearing agreement on a contract extension for the one-time All-Star.
“I don’t have a real timeline,” Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Friday night. “We’ve had some productive discussions and hopefully it will lead to a long-term deal.”
Jones’ current contract expires after this season, although he will still be under club control in 2013. Jones would then become a free agent, but the Orioles want to lock him up before that happens.
“Hopefully, we can get this done. It would be good for the team, good for the fans,” Duquette said. “Adam Jones is a good player. We like Adam Jones, like what he does for our team. He is a great defensive center fielder and hits in the middle of our lineup.”
Jones made the AL All-Star team in 2009. He entered play Friday leading the first-place Orioles in batting average (.311), homers (14) and RBIs (29) among players with at least 17 games.
Baltimore’s cleanup hitter was also on a career-high 15-game hitting streak.
Jones confirmed Friday that his representative, Nez Balelo, was in Baltimore. Jones also said he’s taken a physical, a prerequisite to a long-term contract extension.
Speaking before the Orioles faced the Kansas City Royals, Jones said of Balelo: “He’s in town now. Hopefully I’ll have some good news for you, but right now I don’t. I’m sorry.”
Reached by telephone, Balelo said, “It is our policy not to comment on any contract negotiations.”
Jones has been a starter since coming to the Orioles in the February 2008 trade that sent Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners.
Duquette said earlier this month that he prefers to put off contract talks until the offseason, but Jones’ value has never been higher.
“My choice is to not talk about contracts during the season,” Duquette said, adding, “We’ve been working on it a while.”
Asked who initiated the talks, Jones said, “Probably both sides. I’m not in their offices. It’s an exciting thing, it’s a humbling thing, just even the thought of it. But it’s not complete. Trust me, my phone has been blowing up. It’s exciting, but I’d rather wait until something is imminent. Then I could have good news for you guys.”
Jones figures to get a contract that will rival the most lucrative in Orioles history.
“It’s not about the money,” he said. “You can get money anywhere.”
For Jones, it’s about being on a winning team. The Orioles have endured 14 straight losing seasons, but Jones sees the potential for that to change.
“Look at the players I have around me,” he said. “The core is 25, 26. I’m 26 myself. It’s something we can build up until we’re in our 30s. That would be a strong thing, to have a strong core that can work together similar to what New York has with (Derek) Jeter, Mariano (Rivera), (Jorge) Posada, (Andy) Pettitte. We have a good team and I’ve enjoyed it since I’ve been here, but winning has made it more enjoyable.”
Catcher Matt Wieters would love to see Jones stick around for a long time.
“Everybody would be very happy for Adam and very happy for the Orioles,” Wieters said. “It would be a great deal for both parties.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)