The upstart Baltimore Orioles have an incredibly bright future, and now they’ll have their biggest star in town for the long haul.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, outfielder Adam Jones and the Orioles have agreed to a lucrative six-year, $85 million extension that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2018 season. Jones won’t be on the free-agent market again until he’s 33 years old.
Source: #Orioles’ six-year deal with Adam Jones is complete. Press conference tomorrow.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 26, 2012
It’s easy to see why the first-place Orioles decided to lock up Jones long term.
The 26-year-old had one year left of arbitration and was set for free agency after the 2013 season. Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com beat writer for the Orioles, believes Jones would have signed with a different team if he didn’t get the long-term extension:
My take has always been if O's waited til the winter, they would've lost Jones to FA after 13. Will be interested to see what $/yrs does it.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) May 25, 2012
Jones has hit .311/.357/.601 while crushing 14 home runs, 29 RBI and scoring 32 runs through 46 games played. If Josh Hamilton didn’t exist, Jones would likely be the favorite for the American League MVP award right now. He has shown stark improvement in each of the last three years while also playing a brilliant center field.
Did Baltimore Make the Right Move?
The time is right to reward Jones for his efforts and give him the peace of mind and stability in his major league career. The move officially tells the rest of the Baltimore players and fans that their management is finally serious about contending, and that Jones is the leader and face of the franchise.
The Orioles aren’t known for their big contracts, and Jones’ deal destroys the six-year, $72 million deal they gave to Miguel Tejada back in 2003—the previous biggest contract Baltimore had ever doled out.
This is a great day for the franchise. After a lost decade, the team is trending upward and the organization is willing to commit to long-term success.