Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has cleared revocable trade waivers and is technically now eligible to be traded to any team, reports Fancred’s Jon Heyman. Of course, that distinction is largely a technicality, as Jones’ 10-and-5 rights (10 years of MLB service, the past five coming with one team) give him the ability to veto any trade scenario presented by the team.
Jones, 33, reportedly vetoed a trade that would’ve sent him to the Phillies prior to the non-waiver trade deadline and is said to prefer to remain in Baltimore to close out the season, despite the team’s awful results in 2018. Heyman adds a bit of context, writing that Jones had the chance to talk to one or both of Phillies execs Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak, both of whom know him from their days with the Orioles. The Phils planned to play Jones around four times per week, Heyman continues, though it’s not clear whether that limited role impacted his decision to nix the deal.
The O’s also approached the Yankees about Jones recently, per the report, but it’s a known fact that remaining south of the $197MM luxury tax threshold his a priority for the Yankees. Adding the remainder of Jones’ $17MM salary — roughly $4.27MM as of this writing — wouldn’t do New York any favors in that regard. The Yankees, at present, are about $7MM shy of that barrier, per Cot’s Contracts. Furthermore, Marc Carig of The Athletic reported last night that in spite of a highly inaccurate initial estimate on Aaron Judge’s timetable for recovery from a chip fracture in his wrist, the Yankees don’t appear likely to add any outfield help.
The Indians were the other team who was most heavily linked to Jones prior to the non-waiver deadline, and there’s still plenty of reason to think they might have some interest. Cleveland picked up Leonys Martin in a deadline deal with the division-rival Tigers, but Martin developed a frightening and even life-threatening bacterial infection that landed him on the disabled list. While he is (thankfully) now said to be in stable condition and on the road to a full recovery, there’s no timeline for his return to baseball activity.
Paired with the litany of outfield injuries the Indians have sustained — Bradley Zimmer, Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin are all out of action — that scenario at least creates a clear potential opening for Jones on the Cleveland roster. The money still owed to Jones wouldn’t be an easy pill for the Indians to swallow either, though, as they’re already well into franchise-record payroll territory.
Any team weighing a run at Jones would also need to consider just how much of an upgrade his bat would be through season’s end. He’s been swinging it quite well as of late, hitting at a .341/.398/.518 pace with three homers and six doubles over his past 93 plate appearances. However, that surge has only pushed his season-long batting line to a roughly league-average slash of .282/.317/.438. Given his poor defensive ratings in center field, some clubs may express trepidation over taking on some or all of the money he’s owed, surrendering minor league talent and giving him regular playing time in what has been a down season for the five-time All-Star.
And, again, all of that could largely be a moot point if Jones is indeed uninterested in green-lighting a trade. He’s spent nearly his entire MLB career in Baltimore and has a family there as well as numerous charity efforts in the Baltimore community — all of which is said to have played a significant role in his preference to remain with the O’s. If the allure of playing for a contender for the final month of the season and into October begins to hold increasing appeal for Jones as the Aug. 31 postseason eligibility deadline draws nearer, though, the O’s at least know they’re free to discuss him with any team in the game.