At 43-108, the Baltimore Orioles have already set a new franchise record for losses and are on pace for one of the worst seasons in baseball history. They need to win five of their final 11 games to avoid becoming the sixth 115-loss team in MLB history.
The Orioles, to their credit, acted decisively at the trade deadline and moved all their best trade chips. Manny Machado went to the Dodgers, Zach Britton went to the Yankees, Kevin Gausman went to the Braves, and Jonathan Schoop went to the Brewers, among others.
One player the Orioles did not trade at the deadline: Adam Jones. It was not due to a lack of effort though. The Orioles had a deal in place to send Jones to the Phillies, but Jones used his 10-and-5 no-trade protection to block the deal. Afterwards, .
Earlier this week, Jones finally opened up about his decision to block the trade to Philadelphia during an interview with Sara Perlman of MASN Sports. Here's a transcript of the relevant parts, via MLB Trade Rumors:
"It just wasn't right for me. I was playing center field at the time, and they wanted me to go play right field and platoon. That was the situation there, and it's understandable. That's how their roster was constructed, and that's National League ball - double-switch and all that kind of stuff. ... It wasn't the right move for me, especially going into free agency. I'm not going into free agency looking like I'm [Nolan] Arenado, [Manny] Machado or [Bryce] Harper - obviously not - but I want to continue to create and maintain my stock. Going there to platoon, obviously in a good environment, a winning environment, would've hurt me in the long run. If I was 36, 37, a little older and toward the end of it all, of course - that would've been a very ideal and smart move, because it'd make sense. ... I wish the Phillies the best, because I believe they have a really good team."
Jones didn't want to go to the Phillies to move to right field and become a part-time player, and, as it turns out, that is exactly the role he's taken on with the Orioles these last few weeks. The O's have been playing younger players recently, including center fielder Cedric Mullins, and Jones has shifted to right. He's started only six times in the last 11 games.
That said, accepting a trade to a team that you know will reduce your playing time is much different than the team you're already on reducing your role. Jones wanted to stay in center field and play as much as possible. He knew that wouldn't happen with the Phillies. It might've with the Orioles, but it hasn't.
Jones turned 33 last month and he's hitting .285/.316/.427 this season, which is the quintessential Adam Jones batting line. The power numbers are down a bit -- Jones has 15 homers in 2018 after hitting no fewer than 25 homers in a season from 2011-17 -- but he still gives you a good batting average and plenty of doubles.
The free agent market was tough on veteran players last year and it's possible, if not likely, Jones will get caught up in the web that led to quality players like Todd Frazier, Neil Walker, Jonathan Lucroy, and Mike Moustakas taking smaller than expected contract last offseason.