Last offseason, veteran outfielder Adam Jones had to wait until mid-March to find a taker. Jones found employment much quicker this winter, as he agreed to a multi-year pact on Tuesday -- just not with a big-league club. Rather, Jones is heading to Japan to join the Orix Buffaloes, according to his Instagram. Jones' contract will net him $8 million over two years, with a club option for a third, per Ken Rosenthal.
"I will miss all my peers, colleagues, and most importantly the Fans in the MLB but our paths will cross again I'm sure, in some type of capacity," Jones wrote on his Instagram. "You all be good and play nice over there especially with the CBA coming to an end. There is enough to go around, just work it out!"
It stands to reason that Jones, 34, has played in his final big-league game. If so, he'll finish his stateside career having hit .277/.317/.454 with a 106 OPS+ and 282 home runs. In addition to those numbers, he was a five-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove Award winner. It won't ever show up on his Baseball-Reference page, but he was also considered a consummate professional and good teammate.
That Jones referenced the CBA is an amusing twist. After all, his continued free agency was one of countless points of contention last winter. Although Jones didn't perform well with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he had previously been a reliable league-average or better hitter. Nonetheless, Jones will no longer have to worry about MLB's market forces -- he's now with a team that wanted him, making more than he would've had he remained in the United States.
The unanswerable question is whether Jones will be a one-off loss for MLB, or a trailblazer who opens a new door for aging veterans who find themselves undervalued in the States.