BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles center fielder Adam Jones isn’t exactly fretting over the possibility of heading elsewhere as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws closer.
That’s because he won’t have to leave unless he wants to.
Jones’ contract expires after this season, so the rebuilding Orioles are surely considering dealing him away in a trade for prospects. Manny Machado fetched five players from the Los Angeles Dodgers last week and the Yankees gave up three minor leaguers for Zach Britton on Tuesday, leaving Jones next in line to be headed out of Baltimore.
A player who has accumulated 10 years of major league service time and has spent the past five consecutive seasons with one team gains the right to veto any trade. So, should the Orioles work out a deal for Jones, he has the final say.
“They can say whatever they want and propose whatever they want, but I can be like, ‘Ehh, you know what? That doesn’t work for me,'” Jones said Thursday. “But it’s interesting. We shall see what happens. I don’t know what the plan is here for the future or if I’m even part of it. Let’s see what interest can be generated and see how my representation and my family feel about something that could happen.”
Jones, who turns 32 on Aug. 1, would be a solid addition to any club vying for a playoff berth. He entered play Thursday batting .277 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs, plays his position reliably and has playoff experience. Although his power numbers are down this year, he hit at least 25 homers in each of the past seven seasons.
“I guarantee, if I was a club in contention I’d be wanting an Adam Jones on my club,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Jones has been with Baltimore since 2008. He’s as much a part of the team and the community as anyone who has worn an Orioles uniform. But with Baltimore stuck in last place with a 29-73 record, he now has a chance to instantly become part of a pennant race.
“It’s like the first day of school when you wear that outfit and you see what interest everybody has in you, who’s flirting with you and whatnot,” he said. “It’s cool, it’s flattering. It’s uncommon territory.”
He could always leave, play elsewhere for two months, and then negotiate a contract with Baltimore during the offseason — if the Orioles are interested.
“A lot of people want things,” Jones said. “But if that door’s not open, you’re just going to be sitting outside knocking.”
If these are his final days with the Orioles, he can take consolation in knowing he’s wanted elsewhere.
“Pretty humbling to see that other teams have interest in my services — either with on-field play, leadership, tough mindset, show up every day, work mentality that I have,” he said. “To not wear black and orange, I’ve donned it for 11 years. It’d be different, but it’s business. You’ve got to go if the other team is calling you, the other team is paying you. It’s what you’ve got to do.”
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