Adam Jones Rumors


Nationals Continue Monitoring Center Field Market

The Nationals are set to rely on some combination of Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Jayson Werth in center field this year, but they’re not ruling out potential acquisitions at the position. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains that any trade would have to provide the team with something more than a stopgap.

“I think if we can answer our long-term question now, we’ll do so,” GM Mike Rizzo told Kilgore. “We won’t make the change for a short-term answer.”

Kilgore reports that the team doesn’t want to block prospects such as Michael Taylor, Brian Goodwin and Eury Perez unless the possibility of a significant upgrade exists. Remarkably, 25 Nationals have started at least one game in center field since the team moved to D.C. 

The Nationals have had internal discussions about making pushes for Peter Bourjos and Adam Jones, Kilgore writes. They've also been linked to Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks. B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino are set to hit free agency after the 2012 season, when the Nationals could bid for their services if they haven't yet found a center fielder. 

The Indians are also monitoring the center field market after losing Grady Sizemore for two to three months.



AL East Notes: Bowden, Angelos, Jones

Four of the five AL East teams -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles -- appear to have some interest in Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler. Here are the latest links from the division...

  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com explains that the future of out-of-options right-hander Michael Bowden may be closely linked to his Spring Training performance. For MLBTR's complete list of out of options players on the Red Sox and around the league click here.
  • An Orioles official tells Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun that there's "absolutely no truth" to rumors owner Peter Angelos is considering selling the team.
  • The Orioles would have to offer Adam Jones an extension of at least five years for him to sign long-term, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Rosenthal explores the timeline for a possible Jones trade, pointing out that the Braves were among the teams that inquired on the center fielder this offseason. Jones avoided arbitration with the Orioles last night, agreeing to a $6.15MM contract for 2012. He’s under team control through 2013.



Orioles, Adam Jones Avoid Arbitration

The Orioles and center fielder Adam Jones have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced via press release. Jones will earn a base salary of $6.15MM with $50K in performance-based bonuses -- $25K apiece for reaching 620 and 635 plate appearances, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).

Jones, 26, is under team control through the 2013 season, after which he is eligible for free agency. We heard earlier today that the O's and the right-handed hitter have discussed a possible long-term extension, although Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com tweets that those talks have been tabled till next offseason, as GM Dan Duquette considers in-season negotiations a distraction.

Jones, for his part, seems uncertain about the prospects of a long-term deal with the O's, according to Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com: "I don't know, I guess I am brand new to this sort of thing. Whatever happens, happens. I just go out there and get to do what I love to do. All the people that talk, let them talk. Let me play. I don't care to see the talking back and forth. Just let me go play."

The Orioles offered Jones $5MM for the upcoming season, while he and his agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, filed at $7.4MM, so the settled amount of $6.15MM is just shy of an even midpoint. With Jones' 2012 salary now settled, the Orioles have no remaining arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.



Orioles, Jones Have Talked Extension

The Orioles and Adam Jones have had preliminary discussions about an extension, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette acknowledged the talks, but said they aren't currently the club's top priority.

"Yes, we have discussed a variety of different options,” Duquette said. “But the goal right now is to get a deal for this year and avoid the hearing."

Jones, who has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday, seeks $7.4MM and the Orioles offered $5MM. The 26-year-old is on track to hit free agency after the 2013 season. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested in August that a four-year extension in the $40MM range could work for both sides and examined Jones’ case in further detail last week. The center fielder posted a .280/.319/.466 line with 25 homers last year. Jones said about a month ago that the Orioles hadn’t started extension talks.



Orioles Notes: Jones, Kim, Davis

The Orioles won their arbitration hearing against Brad Bergesen, so the right-hander will earn $800K in 2012. Center fielder Adam Jones is the team’s lone unsigned arbitration eligible player and his hearing is scheduled for February 17th. Here’s the latest on the Orioles...

  • The sense is Jones and the Orioles could settle before next Friday, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. The Orioles offered $5MM, and Jones asked for $7.4MM. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes discussed Jones, Nelson Cruz and Alex Gordon yesterday.
  • The Orioles haven't lost an arbitration hearing since Ben McDonald and Scott Boras defeated them in 1995, Connolly tweets.
  • The Korean Baseball Association has banned Orioles scouts from attending its games in response to Baltimore's deal with 17-year-old left-hander Kim Seong-min, Yonhap News reports. The KBA told MLB that any team that repeats the Orioles' deal will also be banned.
  • First baseman Chris Davis shouldn't worry that his job is on the line, even if the Orioles complete a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Nick Johnson, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes.



Comparing Cruz, Jones, Gordon In Arbitration

Arbitration eligible outfielders Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, and Alex Gordon all remain unsigned.  As outfielders with at least four years of big league service and less than five, their cases are tied together.  Let's take a closer look.

Cruz and Jones submitted near-identical salaries of $7.5MM and $7.4MM, respectively.  The Orioles value Jones less than the Rangers value Cruz, submitting a figure $500K below Cruz's $5.5MM.  It's no coincidence MLB scheduled the players' arbitration hearings for the same day, as that way a win by one can't benefit another.  Should one of the two reach an agreement soon, the salary figure might be kept under wraps until the other's is determined.  Gordon's hearing is scheduled one day earlier, but they're reportedly close to an agreement.  The Cruz-Jones argument can be tailored either way -- Cruz has more career power, but Jones is more durable and plays a premium position.

Gordon is valued below Cruz and Jones by all parties, as he submitted $5.45MM and the Royals $4.15MM.  All things considered Gordon had the best platform year, topping Cruz and Jones easily in batting average, on-base percentage, runs, and stolen bases while posting similar home run and RBI totals.  He's further boosted by a Gold Glove, so one separator here has to be the players' career numbers and related previous year earnings.  Though Gordon wins in career OBP, his home run and RBI totals lag well behind the other two players.

Looking at past precedent, how strong are the cases of Cruz, Jones, and Gordon?

  • Cruz wants a $3.85MM raise, while the Rangers are trying for the same $1.85MM one Carlos Quentin received after the 2010 season.  Using Quentin's numbers through 2010, Cruz has better career numbers and a similar platform year.  Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham received $1.75MM and $1.65MM raises in similar situations, though Cruz trumps all in career power numbers.  However, Cruz does not have an advantage over where Luke Scott was after 2010, and Scott received a $2.35MM bump.  Scott seems to push the argument in the Rangers' favor, except that Scott spent much of 2010 at designated hitter.  Another point in Cruz's favor, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith mentioned to me, is his fantastic postseason production.
  • Jones wants a $4.15MM increase.  He's short on career home runs compared to his arbitration peers, so maybe his argument will be based on his ability to play center field regularly and a better platform year than B.J. Upton's 2010.
  • Gordon seeks a $4.05MM raise.  Given his batting average, run total, and Gold Glove award, he had the best platform year of his peers.  He also has the worst career power numbers, plus the Royals filed a million bucks higher than the Rangers and Orioles did for their guys.
  • We always hear that arbitration hearings are a crapshoot, and perhaps none of these players will end up going to one.  However, the arguments seem to favor the teams in the cases of Cruz, Jones, and Gordon, who are seeking to top Hunter Pence's $3.5MM raise despite inferior numbers.  Additionally, Matt Swartz's arbitration projections came in below the midpoint for all three players.



AL East Notes: Chavez, Ethier, Jones, Orioles, BoSox

Here's the latest from the AL East...

  • Brian Cashman said there is still a chance Eric Chavez could return to the Yankees, reports ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand.  Chavez could have the edge over other DH types like Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui since Chavez can still play the field.
  • Mike Axisa of the River Avenue Blues blog sees Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier as an intriguing trade deadline possibility for the Yankees.  Ethier would ideally be paired with Andruw Jones as a lefty-righty DH platoon.
  • The Yankees still see Phil Hughes as a starting pitcher long-term and aren't likely to trade Hughes given that his trade value is "at a low point," writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.  Last month for Roto Authority, I wrote that Hughes could be a nice dark horse fantasy option if he's healthy and able to win the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation.
  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski that he wants to get Adam Jones' 2012 salary settled before exploring a multiyear extension with the center fielder.  "I've said several times that we like Adam Jones as a player and if we were to consider a long-term deal, that is something that we can certainly consider," Duquette said.
  • Melewski also reports that Jones' arbitration case is set to be heard on February 17.  The Orioles' other two outstanding arb cases (Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen) are scheduled for February 6 and 8, respectively.
  • The Orioles are still looking for another bat, and it will probably have to come through the free agent market, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  The O's had "tepid interest" in Casey Kotchman but had already moved on before Kotchman agreed to terms with the Indians today.
  • The Red Sox have hired veteran scout Gary Hughes as a special assistant to the club, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).  Hughes has spent 45 years in a variety of different scouting and front office positions for numerous teams, including the last nine years as Jim Hendry's special assistant with the Cubs.
  • The New York Times Co. has sold 100 shares of its ownership stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich.  The sale will net $30MM for the Times Co.  Between this and a larger sale in July, the Times Co. is down to roughly a third of the 750 units it bought in Fenway Sports Group in 2002.  Major League Baseball still has to approve the sale.



AL East Notes: Jones, Red Sox, Yankees

On this date last year, the Rays signed Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez to one-year deals. Damon put together a successful season in Tampa Bay, but MLB suspended Ramirez for violating its drug policy and he appeared in just five games for the Rays. Here are today's AL East links...

  • Though the Orioles have some interest in extending Adam Jones, they haven’t begun extension talks with the center fielder, the Baltimore Sun reports. Jones is one of Baltimore’s three unsigned arbitration eligible players, along with fellow CAA client Jeremy Guthrie and right-hander Brad Bergesen. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes previewed a possible Jones extension last summer.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said it seems like compensation for his departure to Chicago should be determined sometime soon, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. The commissioner’s office will determine what the Red Sox obtain from the Cubs as compensation.
  • Larry Koestler of River Ave. Blues says the Yankees should target Zack Greinke at least as much as they target Cole Hamels next offseason. Both pitchers are set to hit free agency within the year, assuming they don't sign extensions first.



Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players avoided arbitration today, but dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays and Braves have stuck to 'file and trial' policies in the past. 

MLBTR's arbitration tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights -- players who filed for $4MM or more. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had most of the info with MLBTR and others also contributing:



Adam Jones Talks Extension

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has appeared in more than his share of trade rumors this offseason, but there’s a chance he’ll stay in Baltimore long-term. Jones told WBAL 1090 in Baltimore this week that he’s not ruling out an extension should the Orioles pursue one with him.

“That has not been presented,” he said. “It’s kind of like looking into the future, which is a hard thing to do.”

Jones projects to earn $5.8MM or so in 2012 as a second time arbitration eligible player. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested in August that a four-year extension in the $40MM range could work for the Orioles and the CAA client. Jones, 26, is on track to hit free agency after the 2013 season. He posted a .280/.319/.466 line with 25 homers last year.









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