May 2012

Britton makes second –possibly final– rehab start

Orioles pitcher Zach Britton started for Double-A Bowie tonight, making his second –and possibly final– rehab start with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette saying previously that Britton could join the team on its current three-city roadtrip. Britton could feasibly pitch any game during the Boston series, with the Orioles –who right now have a four-man rotation — having some wiggle room given Thursday’s off day and one coming on Monday.

Britton pitched seven innings, allowing two runs –one earned– on five hits and a walk in Akron Thursday night. He also had a wild pitch and the unearned run was a result of his own throwing error. The 24-year-old lefty threw 92 pitches, 55 for strikes to lower his Double-A ERA to 0.75. For those who have asked about how Britton looks, I haven’t seen him throw but his velocity has reportedly been creeping back up with each outing and he spent his first rehab start focused on throwing a lot of breaking balls. I don’t know if there was a similar approach tonight.

Britton, who has been dealing with left shoulder discomfort since last August, hasn’t reported any pain or issues in that shoulder which received two rounds of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy this spring. His rehab has been overseen by Chris Correnti with director of pitcher development Rick Peterson on hand the last week or so as well.

It’s unknown what the Orioles plan to do with Britton, and the team doesn’t need a fifth starter until June 9. They could go with a spot starter for that game, since they have an off day again on the 11th, which would buy them time to get Britton at least one more outing. Still, given the recent struggles of the rotation its hard to believe they’d keep him in the Minors if he’s healthy and gets positive reports after tonight’s outing.

***

Chris Tillman had a great a night for Triple-A Norfolk, tossing eight scoreless innings and allowing one hit and one walk with nine strikeouts. Good to see Tillman (4-7, 4.15 ERA), who has had a tough start with the Tides so far, put it together. Hopefully, he can build on this one and continue to dominate Triple-A hitters to force his way up here.

Markakis to have surgery to remove right hamate bone (updated)

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis will undergo surgery at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning in Sarasota, Fla to remove a broken hamate bone from his right wrist, a procedure that is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Brian Schofield. Markakis is believed to have suffered the initial injury on a slide a week to 10 days ago, and he felt something “tweak” again in his final at-bat in Tuesday’s game in Toronto.

A broken hamate bone is a fairly common baseball injury, and X-rays typically don’t pick it up, which explains why Markakis’ X-rays on Wednesday were negative. The procedure is brief and typically under 20 minutes with an estimated timetable from 2-4 weeks.  All things considered, it’s good news for the Orioles club fearful Markakis –their most durable player – would be out for the rest of the season.

“If you had told me that was what it was going to be, I would have signed up for it in blood,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Thursday afternoon. “It’s not that bad.”

Still, it will require a trip to the disabled list for Markakis, the first of his Major League career. A hard-nosed player who prides himself on being in the lineup every day, Markakis had started the team’s first 50 games, 48 in right field, before sitting out Wednesday’s series finale in Toronto.  The 28-year-old Markakis made significant strides in his recovery from offseason abdominal surgery and the Orioles remain hopeful he will bounce back from Friday’s scheduled surgery in similarly quick fashion.

Markakis has played in at least 160 regular season games in each of the past three seasons, a streak that will undoubtedly end with this injury. He is batting .256 with eight homers, 26 RBIs and a .785 OPS.

The Orioles are expected to make a corresponding roster move, officially placing Markakis on the disabled list, before Friday’s series opener in St. Petersburg. Markakis will join a crowded-DL in extended spring that presently includes relievers Matt Lindstrom and Stu Pomeranz, outfielder Nolan Reimold, catcher Taylor Teagarden and starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, who will be out the entire season with Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Of the group, Lindstrom is the closest to a return, according to Showalter. Brian Roberts and Zach Britton are also on the DL and on rehab assignment.

So, who replaces Markakis? Rookie Xavier Avery could be recalled since it was an injury situation, although there’s some who feel he could benefit from some seasoning and consistent playing time at Triple-A. Keep in mind, he spent last year at Double-A Bowie. Triple-A Norfolk’s other outfielders include Jai Miller, Lew Ford and Jamie Hoffman, who are all possibilities at this point.

Reimold, is still not doing baseball activities so with two outfielders on the DL it’s possible the Orioles make a move outside the organization as well. Markakis’ timetable could change, especially since surgery on the hamate bone typically tends to be closer to 6-8 for recovery. There’s some optimism he will be able to be back sooner, but the team won’t know until he has the surgery and starts his rehab.  San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval is about four weeks removed from surgery to take out his left hamate and is believed to be about two weeks away from returning, which puts him right around that six-week mark.

To date, here are the shortest documented recent recoveries from hamate removal surgery in the baseball world. (With a hat tip to researcher Dan Wade who works for SI.com’s Will Carroll, for doing the digging.)

2006: Willy Aybar: 20 Days
2010: Tony Gwynn Jr. 25 Days

Joe Mather also missed just 20 days in 2008, but also didn’t play a game after he was activated, so that situation is a little unclear and could have been part of a roster shuffle.

Rajsich on his first Draft w/ the Orioles, the new CBA & helping the big league club

Orioles amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich is busy lining up the organization’s Draft board and making adjustments that are expected to continue up through the start of this year’s First-Year Player Draft on Monday. Rajsich –who was hired by executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette over the winter– said Duquette has sat in on meetings and is well aware of what’s going on in the “war room” at the Warehouse, as the Orioles try to restock a depleted farm system.

While most team won’t admit they Draft based on need, Rajsich said it’s definitely taken under consideration and the Orioles are rumored to have their eyes on the best available pitcher with their first pick, which is fourth overall.

“We are focused on [the] best available player, but we are aware of the needs of where we are at with the Major League club,” Rajsich said of his Draft philosophy.  “We are approaching this for the short and long term.”

Speaking of short, Rajsich –who spent the last nine years on the pro scouting side of things — had to play catch-up this offseason and said he relied heavily on a team of about 25 scouts (some who shift to pro in the summer) to bring him up to speed.

“I’m settling into this,” Rajsich said of his new position and organization. “When I started in December, I didn’t know the players that were out there for this year’s Draft, I didn’t know my staff, we’ve come a long way in this process the last five months. We’ve had good decisions made and I feel like we are prepared for this.

“It’s going to be painful to watch 60 players to go off the board,” Rajsich said of the long wait between the club’s first two selections. “But we feel confident we will get a player with our second pick that can help us.

Dan [Duquette] has a reputation for building organizations and it’s no different here. It’s really exciting to be a part of it, actually.”

The Orioles will conduct their Draft in the Warehouse at Camden Yards, with special assistant Brady Anderson serving as the club’s Draft representative in New York. Live coverage of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday, at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players.

So, how important is it for the Orioles –who have two of baseball’s top prospects in Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy — to add some depth?

“That’s the only emphasis,” Rajsich said.  “You  build your organization through your draft, I know there are other ways in international scouting…but that’s our sole focus is to add value to the organization through the draft.

“We feel like we are going to get a good player [with the fourth pick],” he added. “There’s very few elite picks at the top and throughout the rest of the first round. I think you have a chance 6-31 to get pretty much the same player, you can do as well at the top of this round as you can at the bottom.”

How does the new Collective Bargaining Agreement change this year’s Draft?

Each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team’s selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

The Orioles bonus pool is $6,826,900 for their first 10 picks, since they don’t have any supplemental selections this year, which puts them at 11th among 30 clubs. In other words, they have an average of $682,690 in bonus money to allot to each pick.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

Do the new rules change how the Orioles, and pretty much every team, approaches the draft? Yes.

“It does, it places more importance on signability we have to know — especially in first 10 rounds — if players we select are going to sign and fit into our bonus system,” Rajsich said. “So, we’ve been talking to agents and things like that, we rely on our scouts to do those things.”

***

Note- I’ll have a full Draft preview up later today on Orioles.com and you can visit MLB.com’s Draft Central here.

Orioles option Hunter and Avery, active Chavez and purchase Gonzalez’s contract

The Orioles have reinstated outfielder Endy Chavez from the disabled list, selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez and optioned Tommy Hunter and Xavier Avery to Norfolk.

Chavez was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 9 with a strained left oblique.  He is batting .133/.175/.167 in 20 games for the Orioles this season.  Chavez appeared in three rehab games with Double-A Bowie, going 3-for-10 with two walks and three runs scored.

Gonzalez went 2-1 with one save and a 1.50 ERA (30.0IP, 5ER) in 11 games (three starts) with the Tides, striking out 36 and walking five.  He allowed 15 base runners (10H & 5BB) and one HR, while holding opponents to an average of .100 (10-100).  Gonzalez was signed by the Orioles as a minor league free agent on February 28.  He spent 2011 in the Boston organization, pitching at three levels (A, AA & AAA) and entered 2012 with a career record of 18-22 and 3.92 ERA (393.0IP, 171ER) in five minor league seasons.  He missed the 2008 and 2009 seasons with injuries.  Originally signed by the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent on October 21, 2003, Gonzalez was selected by Boston in the Rule 5 Draft on December 11, 2008.

Hunter is 2-3 with a 5.59 ERA (58.0IP, 36ER) in 10 starts for the Orioles this season.  He took the loss in last night’s game against Toronto, allowing six runs (five earned) in 3.0 innings pitched.

Avery made his major league debut on May 13 vs. TB and batted .217/.299/.317 in 15 games with the Orioles.  He batted .273/.373/.469 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 33 games for the Tides earlier this season.

With the addition of Gonzalez, the Orioles’ 40-man roster is now full.

Injury updates and getting ready for the Draft

Second baseman Brian Roberts will continue his rehab assignment with the Delmarva Shorebirds, playing for the Class-A affiliate on Tuesday (tonight) and Wednesday. Roberts has played five games for Double-A Bowie and is hitting .222, and manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Toronto he has tentative plans for Roberts to play for Triple-A Norfolk before being activated, so the veteran infielder will see some higher-quality pitching before rejoining the Orioles. Keep in mind Roberts hasn’t played in a Major League game since last May and the biggest adjustment early on has been him getting back into game speed.

Roberts’ 20-day rehab assignment ends on June 11, meaning he has to be activated the 12th unless there’s another setback/injury, in which case he’d had to start over (and typically it would have to be a different injury or the O’s would have to get approval to stop and restart the assignment). What happens when Roberts comes back is hard to predict because the Orioles have so many moving pieces right now although –and a lot of you have asked — I still expect Robert Andino to be a regular fixture in the lineup, given that he can play multiple positions. People forget that Andino is playing out of his comfort zone at second base; he came up a shortstop in the Marlins organization, has filled in at third base and can be used in left field if necessary. Roberts’ return won’t delegate him to a bench role, particularly given Andino’s defensive skills and the Orioles’ struggles with errors this season.

Third baseman Mark Reynolds was activated last night, and Endy Chavez is expected to be available tonight for the second game in Toronto. Steve Tolleson could be sent down for Chavez, and rookie Xavier Avery is another option as the O’s roster continues its rapid turnover. It will be interesting to see if both those guys, Reynolds and Chavez, can get back on track now that they are healthy. Both were struggling offensively, and in Reynolds’ case on the field, at the time they were injured. I’m not sure how on board I’d be with Avery going back to the Minors. He has hit a bit of a rough patch since his initial success, but I’d be curious to see if he can make the adjustments up here. But, that’s just me.

On the pitching side, reliever Matt Lindstrom reported to Sarasota over the weekend and has started his rehab program by throwing up to 90 feet. You figure he will return to the team at some point on this road trip as will starter Zach Britton, who will make his second rehab start for Double-A Bowie at Akron on Thursday.

Britton threw 88 pitches in his first rehab start and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said last week it’s possible the 24-year-old lefty is activated and rejoins the Orioles on their current three-city roadtrip which would mean Thursday would be Britton’s final start. The O’s do have an offday on Thursday and again on Monday so there’s some wiggle room there since they could feasibly go with a four-man rotation for a little while and carry an extra reliever or bench player.

Still, I have a hard time believing the Orioles won’t activate Britton if he’s ready, especially considering the struggles of the starting pitching. Right-hander Tommy Hunter went three innings in last night’s loss to the Blue Jays and looks like the odd man out right now. Assuming Britton makes just one more rehab start, he would be eligible to start again in Boston. As for how he’s looked, I can only go off of what I’ve been told which is that Britton’s velocity is slowing creeping back up and physically he’s not in any pain or discomfort in regards to that left shoulder. There has been an added emphasis on improving his mechanics and building up arm strength during his rehab, and Britton spent a lot of his first rehab outing working on getting the feel back for his breaking ball.

***

Typically, I’m all about the MLB Draft weeks before as Orioles fans  seem desperate for some good news and hope by early June. This year, however, with the team in first place, the last few days I finally redirected some attention toward the upcoming First-Year Player Draft. Clearly, I’m no expert, but MLB.com Jonathan Mayo is –he keeps track of this stuff all year — and you can read his latest Mock Draft up here.

Mayo has the Orioles, who will pick fourth, selecting college arm Kevin Gausman which seems to be the majority opinion right now. Gausman is a sophomore at Louisiana State University and you can check out his player page here. Drafted in the sixth-round of 2010’s Draft, he elected to go to college and he’s posted a 2.86 ERA with 118 strikeouts and just 23 walks over 100.2 innings this year to raise his stock even further.

From the MLB.com Draft site, here’s a blurb on the right-handed Gausman, who has been predicted to be the Orioles’ target in several mock drafts.

“Coming out of Colorado as a high schooler, scouts liked Gausman’s arm strength but an inconsistent spring and signability issues caused a slide until the sixth round, where Gausman reportedly turned down an above-slot offer from the Dodgers. Now he’s back just two years later as a Draft-eligible sophomore.

Gausman still has the electric stuff, this time with a little more polish. He’ll run his fastball up to 94 mph and he’s still projectable given there’s plenty of room on his frame to add strength. The heater has plenty of life to it and gets on hitters quickly thanks to a loose and easy delivery. His breaking ball has the chance to be an average offering and he now throws a changeup that fades and sinks and could be an above-average pitch.

The right-hander still struggles a bit with command, particularly with his breaking pitch and the delivery on his changeup doesn’t always work. But with his size, mound presence and arm, he has all the makings of a frontline starter, one who shouldn’t stay on Draft boards for very long if he has a productive sophomore season.”

It’s important to note that there’s no clear-cut No. 1 pick in this year’s Draft and the mock drafts are really just an educated guess. The top five or six picks are hard to predict so things could change in a hurry. Here’s the latest Baseball America blurb on what the O’s could do.

“Baltimore seems to be leaning more towards arms than bats, especially if [outfielder Byron] Buxton is gone, so that would leave it looking at Gausman and [Kyle] Zimmer. Gausman had a strong start at the Southeastern Conference tournament this week, while Zimmer will try to put hamstring woes and fluctuating velocity behind him in his final outing of the season tonight. Don’t rule out [Carlos] Correa or [Albert] Almora here.”

I’ll have a full Draft preview up later this week, but here’s the goods on MLB.com’s coverage…

The annual First-Year Player Draft takes place this year from June 4-6, beginning with the first round and Comp Round A on Monday, June 4, at 7 p.m. ET. The first night of the event will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com. Rounds 2-40 will also be streamed live on MLB.com on June 5-6.

MLB.com’s coverage includes the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, and Draft Caster. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter and join along in the conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

This year’s Draft representative for the Orioles is special assistant Brady Anderson.

***

Finally, I’ve gotten asked this a lot the last few days on Twitter and wanted to reiterate that O’s broadcaster Jim Palmer is fine. I don’t know how MASN does the scheduling, but was told last week that Palmer will be in the booth for the Tampa Bay series this weekend and his absence was scheduled. It’s nothing out of the ordinary although it does feel like a long time since he’s been around.  It’s my understand Palmer and Mike Bordick split the team’s games.

Pomeranz injures left oblique, DL pretty likely

Orioles reliever Stu Pomeranz felt something pop in his left oblique on Sunday afternoon, and manager Buck Showalter said after his club’s 4-2 loss that the right-hander is likely headed to the disabled list.

“I’d say there’s a better than average chance he’s going on the disabled list,” Showalter said of Pomeranz, who is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday morning and won’t travel with the team to Toronto.  “That’s frustrating because he’s a good-looking young pitcher who’s pitched well this year. Could help us. Hopefully, it won’t be too long.”

Pomeranz, who was recalled on Friday, said he threw anywhere from eight to ten pitches –all fastballs – before feeling a pop on a breaking ball. The 27-year-old said he wasn’t sure what happened, and has never had a similar injury, he just knew he was in pain and needed to stop throwing.

“Doing anything is pretty painful right now,” said Pomeranz, who has been a feel-good story for the O’s in advancing from Double-A to the Majors after not even being in big league Spring Training.  “I’m pretty upset. Definitely disappointed.”

Pomeranz allowed his first earned runs of the season on a two-run homer Friday night. He did not allow a earned run in 10 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A this season, tossing three scoreless innings in his Major League debut May 7 versus Texas.

O’s announce six-year extension for Jones

Just how important was it for an Orioles organization off to its best start in seven years — trying to reverse a trend of 14 consecutive losing seasons — to hurry up and extend the hot-hitting center fielder Adam Jones?

“Dude rang the cash register every time he hit a home run,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette quipped of Jones, who has a team-leading 14 homers and 31 RBIs to go along with a career-high 17-game hitting streak.  “I mean, Adam kind of forced the issue, didn’t he?”

And so it was on Sunday afternoon that Jones got paid, agreeing to a six-year, $85.5 million contract extension that will make him the second richest center fielder in the game (behind the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp) with an average annual value of $14.25 million. The deal, long speculated in the days leading up to the Orioles’ official announcement, is the largest contract in team history and keeps the good news coming for a first-place club that entered Sunday tied for the best record in the American League.

“It’s making me, not necessarily a life-long Oriole, but sure leading in that direction,” said Jones, who spoke with mother, Andrea Bradley, agent Nez Balelo, and girlfriend Audie Fugett in the front row and teammates Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Robert Andino and Jake Arrieta watching from the back.

“[The team’s hot start] helped out a lot, but the big reason that helped me out is you see a lot of different guys in free agency go and switch teams. I think me here, I fit here in this city. I fit here on this team, I fit in at Camden Yards.I really don’t see myself wearing another white uniform that doesn’t have ‘Orioles’ across the chest. After I put that [it] in perspective of what, if I won here, if we win here, this is my championship. This is our championship. I’m not part of someone else’s championship. Putting that in perspective, that makes me even hungrier to win. As a competitor that’s all I want is [to] beat the odds…Here we can really beat the odds and I do want to be a part of it.”

Jones’ deal easily surpasses Miguel Tejada’s six-year, $72 million contract signed in December 2003 and Markakis’ six-year, $66.1 million extension in ’09 and includes a no-trade provision and escalators can that can bring the total value to $91.5 million. It also ensures that the 26-year-old Jones, who would have been eligible for free agency at the end of next season, remains in Baltimore through 2018.

“[He’s] more than a fine player,” Duquette said of Jones, who also had group of youth baseball players he supports on hand for the presser, “His heart is always in the right place.”

“Here’s a player that can help us on both sides of the ball. He’s 26 years old and he’s a fixture in the community. So, we are telling Oriole fans we are committed to this player, we are committed to putting a winning team on the field and we are committed to providing hope to rebuilding our fan base.”

Jones, who thanked a laundry list of people responsible for Sunday’s events, also singled out Showalter and Duquette’s commitment to winning and the freedom the organization has allowed him to be himself and play hard every day.

“Adam understands the responsibility that comes along with the commitment, he doesn’t run from that,” Showalter said. “And I trust him. Believe me, he interviews us a little too. He doesn’t want to be around something that’s not going to be worthy of the effort that he’s going to put in.”

“I definitely want to make my mark on this city, and be known as someone who is going to go out there and play hard every day on the field and go out there in the community and try 100 percent to make a difference,” said Jones, who will donate a portion of his yearly salary to Orioles’ charities and continue to strive to make a positive impact on local youth.

“Everyone knows I’m not from Baltimore, but this is now my town.”

And it’s starting to look like a baseball one again, with the Orioles play reinvigorating the city and bringing crowds hopeful that better days are here to stay.

“It’s to be continued,” Showalter said when asked what locking up players like Markakis and Jones can do for the organization’s future. “I think everyone here is driven to put something together that stands the test of time.”

Ensuring Jones will be around is a big step forward.  An All-Star and American League Gold Glove Award winner in 2009, Jones was named the “Most Valuable Oriole” by the local media last season after establishing new career highs in games played (151), doubles (26), home runs (25), RBIs (83), stolen bases (12), extra-base hits (53) and slugging percentage (.466).

He entered Sunday batting .309/.351/.597 in 47 games, and ranked in the top 10 in the AL in total bases (2nd; 114), extra-base hits (T-2nd; 25), games played (T-2nd; 47), slugging (3rd; .597), runs (T-3rd; 34), hits (4th; 59), home runs (T-4th; 14), stolen bases (T-4th; 8), OPS (5th; .948), RBI (T-9th; 31) and average (10th; .309).  Jones’ current 17-game hitting streak is the longest in the American League this season.

“Today every member of the organization can take pride in a job well done,” said Duquette who called it a “historic” day for the Orioles. “The fact that Adam will stay in Baltimore and will continue building the winning team is a testament to what all these [organizational] members have done.

A former first-round pick by the Seattle Mariners, Jones was acquired by the Orioles from Seattle along with Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio and Tony Butler in exchange for left-handed starter Erik Bedard. The trade was former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

“I just appreciate the opportunity that’s what it’s all about,” Jones said.  “I took advantage of the opportunity to play every day here in Baltimore and never looked back.”

Jones extension quotes

I’ll have a full story up later on Orioles.com, but here are a few quotes from this afternoon’s press conference announcing the six-year, 85.5 million extension for center fielder Adam Jones. Those in attendance included players Nick Markakis, Robert Andino, J.J. Hardy, and Jake Arrieta along with Jones agent, mother and girlfriend.

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF BASEBALL OPERATIONS DAN DUQETTE

[opening statement] Today every member of the organization can take pride in a job well done, the fact that Adam will stay in Baltimore and will continue building the winning team is a testament to what all these (organizational) members have done.
Thank you to Adam’s mom, Andrea Bradley, you should be very proud of your son today, As they say, ‘he done good.’” To have a great team in Baltimore, we have to find and keep players like Adam, players that are willing to make the sacrifices for the team and do the little things that we all know helps teams win games. This commitment by the Orioles reflects the fact that Adam Jones is more than a fine player. He’s a leader in our community and he’s a winner. He has heart, and his work in the community makes clear that his heart is in the right place.

[on what this says to the fans] “We are committed to having a winning team and one of the keys to have a winning team year in and year out is to have players in your lineup that…Adam Jones stabilizes our team. He goes to the post every day. He goes out there…Here’s a player that can help us on both sides of the ball. He’s 26 years old and he’s a fixture in the community. So we are telling Oriole fans we are committed to this player, we are committed to putting a winning team on the field and we are committed to providing hope to rebuilding our fan base.”

ADAM JONES
[relief?] “It’s a great baseball city, it’s coming back, we got to prove to the fans that we are for real now. We are slowing doing it but I think this is a big step in that right direction…That’s the ultimate reason I signed on…they believe in winning.”

[on when he knew he wanted to stay on for six years] “I was sure a while ago. It’s a long commitment, six years, it’s along time. But I’ve been here for five. It’s making me, not necessarily a life-long Oriole, but sure leading in that direction…I just appreciate the opportunity that’s what it’s all about. I took advantage of the opportunity to play here in Baltimore and never looked back.”

[no trade provision] “Makes it a lot easier.”

[team, organization wants to win?] “That helped out a lot but the big reason that helped me out is you see a lot of different guys in free agency go and switch team, I think me here. I fit here in this city. I fit here on this team, I fit in at Camden Yards. I really don’t see myself wearing another white uniform that doesn’t have Orioles across the chest. After I put that in perspective of what, if I won here, if we win here this is my championship, this is our championship. I’m not part of someone else’s championship.

Putting that in perspective, that makes me even hungrier to win. As a competitor that’s all I want is [to] beat the odds…Here we can really beat the odds and I do want to be a part of it.”

[On his growing community effort] “I enjoy helping out this kids because they are great kids and everyone needs a window of opportunity. Someone gave me a small window of opportunity and I climbed in. I just try to help out as much as I can.
I definitely want to make my mark on this city and be known as someone who is going to go out there and play hard every day on the field and go out there in the community and try 100 percent to make a difference.”

“Everyone knows I’m not from Baltimore, but this is now my town.”

MANAGER BUCK SHOWALTER
[on having Jones for six more years] “Adam understands the responsibility that comes along with the commitment, he doesn’t run from that. And I trust him. Believe me, he interviews us a little too. He doesn’t want to be around something that’s not going to be worthy of the effort that he’s going to put in. And a lot of people feel that way in our clubhouse and I think Adam shares a kinship with our players.

Adam gets a lot of things that people his age don’t get about what’s reality and what’s not reality and what they do for a living. So it’s exciting for me and, more importantly his teammates and the fans. He’s got a chance to continue to do the things [he’s been doing]. Everything he’s gotten he deserves. Because he’s done what you are supposed to.”
[on building a core in Baltimore] “It’s to be continued. I think everyone here is driven to put something together that stands the test of time.

Orioles vs. Royals

*The Orioles will announce a six-year, 85.5 million extension for Adam Jones at a press conference at 11:30 a.m. ET this morning. I’ll have the full story up later, but you can also watch live on Orioles.com.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
Wilson Betemit 3B
Nick Johnson DH
Robert Andino 2B

Brian Matusz LHP

ROYALS LINEUP
Alex Gordon LF
Johnny Giavotella 2B
Billy Butler DH
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Alcides Escobar SS
Mitch Maier CF
Humberto Quintero C

Luke Hochevar RHP

Os, Jones reach extension agreement (with figures)

The heavily-speculated Adam Jones extension has finally come to fruition. The Orioles and Jones are expected to announce a six-year, $85.5-million extension for the center fielder with a press conference at approximately 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning, according to a baseball source.  The two sides have engaged in talks for some time and Jones’ agent, Nez Balelo (CAA Sports), was in town this weekend to see the deal through.

The 26-year-old Jones, who already passed a physical during Thursday’s off day, will now be the second-highest paid center fielder in the game by the Dodgers Matt Kemp.

Here’s the goods on his contract info:

*The extension is six years, $85.5 million. Escalators worth up to $6 million can bring maximum value to $91.5 million. The average annual value is $14.25 million and average value for his free-agent years only is $15 million.

*It includes a $2 million signing bonus, $8.5 million in 2013 (which would have been his final arbitration year), $13 million in 2014-15, $16 million in 2016-17, $17 million in 2018.  There are no option years and it includes a no-trade provision.

*This is the largest deal in Orioles’ history passing the deals for Miguel Tejada  ($72M, 2004-09) and Nick Markakis ($66.1M, 2009-14)

Jones would have been eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. MASNSPorts.com first reported that the two sides had reached an official agreement.

Current CF By AAV

Matt Kemp: $20M
Adam Jones: $14.25M
Josh Hamilton: $12M
Yoenis Cespedes: $9M
Andrew McCutchen: $8,583,333

Current CF By Total Contract

Matt Kemp: $160M
Adam Jones: $85.5M
Andrew McCutchen: $51.5M
Yoenis Cespedes: $36M
Curtis Granderson: $30.25M

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