Jones: Baltimore 'Now My Town'
The Orioles officially announced the signing of center fielder Adam Jones' contract extension and the All-Star embraced his role in Baltimore.
"Everybody knows I'm not from Baltimore," the San Diego native said, "but this is now my town. I just want to relish it."
Jones signed a six-year, $88.5 million incentive-laden deal that could escalate to as much as $91 million. It is the richest deal in organization history.
"This is a historic day for a historic team," said Dan Duquette, the team's executive vice president of baseball operations.
Duquette later said that the deal sent larger signals.
"We're telling Orioles fans we're committed to this player," he said. "We're committed to putting a winning team on the field and we're committed to providing hope to rebuilding our fan base."
Duquette said of Jones, "The dude rang the cash register" with his play this season. Jones has 14 home runs and 31 RBIs through May 26, both team highs this season. He was the club's MVP a year ago and should be in contention for his second All-Star appearance.
|Adam Jones In Baltimore
|* Through May 26, 2012
"I didn't get here by myself," Jones said. He thanked his mother and girlfriend and mentors Tony Gwynn and Mark McLemore, a former Oriole.
Jones said he had confidence in the organization's leadership, particularly manager Buck Showalter and Duquette.
"There's a bigger goal here, I believe, and that's winning games," Jones said. "That's the ultimate reason I signed on. I believe in Showalter and Duquette and what they believe in."
Showalter said Jones had matured into a leader.
"I trust him," Showalter said. "Believe me, he interviews us a little bit 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 into it."
Jones said the club was turning the corner and its record during the first two months of the season was a reflection of that. He and Duquette said the club didn't need to chase big free agents to go to the next level.
"We've got the team," Jones said. "We've got the guys."
Jones praised his teammates, many of whom were in the room during the news conference. He turned his attention to Showalter, who arrived in Baltimore during the later months of the 2010 season, when the Orioles were foundering.
"You're the man," Jones said. "Obviously you and the coaching staff have been a big part in how I play the game."
Duquette said Jones was a leader in the clubhouse, on the field and in Baltimore city.
"He has heart and his work in the community shows his heart is always in the right place," Duquette said.
Jones, meanwhile, said the opportunity to make a difference in the community was important to him. A local youth baseball team from Gardenville was in attendance to see the news conference announcing Jones' extension.
"I am a role model," Jones said. "I definitely want to make a mark in this city."
Jones said Baltimore was a great baseball city.
"It's coming back," he said. "This is a big step in that right direction. We've got a good squad here and a good core. If we maintain it and keep growing it, we can do a lot in this city."
Jones' love of the city was surprising for some, who expected him to entertain offers from other teams had his contract expired after the 2013 season. He acknowledged it's a long commitment to the Orioles. He will be 33 when the new contract ends in 2018.
"It's making me, not necessarily a lifelong Oriole, but it's sure leading in that direction," Jones said. "I took advantage of an opportunity to play here in Baltimore every day and I haven't looked back."
Posted May 27, 2012