This one still boggles my mind.
The Baltimore Orioles have yet to lock up center fielder Adam Jones. Granted, his contract does run through 2013, so it's not like he's leaving after this season.
Nah, he'll be leaving after next. That is, unless GM Dan Duquette stops dragging his butt and offers Jones what he wants.
Jones is getting more and more expensive with every passing game. He went 1-7 against the Kansas City Royals in Wednesday's 15-inning marathon, but that one hit was a go-ahead home run in the 15th that helped the Orioles win the game.
Tell me, did you hear the sound of Jones taking money to the bank? Because I most certainly did. Especially considering that the O's are 11-1 when Jones goes deep, and nine of his homers have either tied the game for the O's or given the team the lead.
That's clutch. That's growth. And that's adding up to a huge contract which is something remarkably larger than what we as fans had initially speculated Jones deserved.
I would bet money that if Jones were to hit the open market he'd easily be able to sign something like an eight year, $100 million deal. That amount of money is not out of the question for the talented outfielder, and when you look at how deals around baseball are growing astronomically, it appears to become even more likely.
The closer Jones gets to free agency, the more tempted he'll be to test it and see what kind of contract offers he can get. And we all know that once he gets to free agency, it'll be even less likely the O's will sign him long-term.
One thing going for the O's is their great start to this season. If they can keep it up come midseason, Jones may be much more willing to negotiate and sign an extension because the team will be winning for the first time in his career.
Players like to win. If the O's can keep on winning, Jones may like even more to make a long-term commitment to the city of Baltimore.
This needs to get done. Unless the O's have the ground fall out from under them and they go back to the O's of the last 14 seasons, in which case Jones needs to be traded for prospects, we should sign him long term.
Duquette needs to initiate talks. Owner Peter Angelos needs to open his checkbook and give Jones what he wants.
Because Jones is certainly worth it to the team, to the fans, and to the city of Baltimore.