Orioles' proposed Jones deal makes sense for the surprising first-place team

The Orioles' proposed new contract with Adam Jones for about $85.5 million over six years sure sounds high for a player who has never had a full season with a .290 batting average, a .350 on-base percentage, a .500 slugging percentage or an .800 OPS.

But it's a good deal for the Orioles, and here's why.

He's just getting started being a star. Jones is only 26 and improving, he's an excellent defender and by all accounts a personable and fine young man and highly respected by opponents.

Jones' current .311 batting average, .357 on-base percentage, .601 slugging percentage and .958 OPS would all be career highs. All of them. By a lot.

The surprising first-place Orioles are on a nice run, and Jones is a big part of it. His numbers, age and status as a player within two years of free agency logically add up to the biggest contract in Orioles history, beating the $72 million, six-year deal of Miguel Tejada, who is trying for a comeback with them now and hoping he's seen as the third baseman in waiting.

Some folks are skeptical about the proposed Jones deal, which is awaiting at least the results of his physical Wednesday before it can be finalized. "They certainly are buying high," one competing GM said.

That may be true. But the price will only rise for a mid-20s speed-burner who has power and is one of the best outfielders in the game.

The Orioles made the right move this past winter, turning down trade proposals that were centered around Jair Jurrjens and Drew Storen. And they are doing the right thing again with Jones.

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