The time has finally come where I can no longer identify as a Baltimore Orioles fan. My last straw with the team was their failure to resign outfielder Adam Jones. Instead, yesterday Jones signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Why couldn’t the Orioles do that?
Adam Jones is my favorite Orioles player of all time. Yes, I like him more than Cal Ripken Jr. I moved here to Maryland in 1994. By then, Ripken was already a demigod with the Oriole faithful. Coming in as a carpetbagger outsider, I didn’t understand the fascination people had with Ripken. Sure, he was a good ballplayer. To me, he had the charisma of chipped beef gravy without any hot sauce. People claimed Ripken was the leader of the Orioles, albeit a “quiet leader.”
The phrase “quiet leader” is an oxymoron.
People seemed to love Ripken because he refused to take a day off. That always seemed like a dumb reason to make someone a leader. To me, a leader is someone you want others to emulate. If other players refused to take a day off throughout a 162-game season, it would not be a good thing. Players need to take a day off every once in a while. It’s part of the game.
Adam Jones was the heart and soul of the Baltimore Orioles for the last ten plus years. He’s exactly the type of player you would want other ballplayers to emulate. This is especially true on a team consisting of minor leaguers and Rule Five Draftees such as the 2019 Baltimore Orioles.
Since Jones will not be with the Orioles this season, who then is the leader? Chris Davis? Please. The fact that this man is still consuming a roster spot is proof the Orioles are not a serious organization.
When the Orioles hired Houston Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias, it was supposed to be proof the Orioles were going to do doing things differently. Elias has a reputation as an advanced analytics guy. This was further confirmed when Elias then hired former NASA engineer and former Astros analytics expert Sig Mejdal to join him with the Orioles.
If the Orioles were going to commit to using analytics to build a team, why is Davis still with them? Chris Davis had the worst batting average last year. His 2018 WAR (wins above replacement) was a negative 2.8. That’s unheard of. An average triple-A first baseman, if added to the team, would have a WAR of zero.
Davis is not the kind of player you want on your team, let alone serving as a leader to a group of prospects pretending to be major leaguers. The Orioles would have had the perfect leader in Adam Jones. For whatever reason, they chose not to do that.
In a way, I’m glad they didn’t sign Adam Jones. It shows me exactly what kind of organization they (still) are. Without Jones on the team, I’m free to hate the Orioles with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.
I wish Jones nothing but success with the Diamondbacks. I will be rooting for him.