Showalter, Winning And Jones Signing
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
The Orioles, their fans and Adam Jones are all going to have a pretty good day today. By the time their 48th game of the 2012 baseball season begins, the club's future will be a lot brighter than it's been in a long, long time.
Adam Jones is set to sign a six-year extension, rumored to be for a grand total of $85 million to $92 million, including some accelerators based on performance. Jones' future, whether brighter or not, will certainly be a lot greener.
Lots of media coverage will be about how this new contract is the richest in team history and that it is north of what Miguel Tejada, Nick Markakis or Albert Belle received. Well, why shouldn't it be? What's that they say? Time is money, right? Well, in the case of Tejada, he signed in 2004, and Albert Belle signed during the previous century, after the 1998 season. So, that news should hardly be that earth-shattering.
With that track record of salary highs, it's almost no wonder the club has had 14 straight losing seasons. But this is ultimately about the future, a future that Adam Jones said would include a winning percentage well beyond the paltry 42.7 percent of games won during his time in Charm City. That's right, even including the club's surprising 29-18 start this season, collectively Jones' O's have won 296 times, with 398 losses.
So, why would Jones feel that way? The Birds' brass can push their chests out about how they stepped up to play in the big league sandbox, but Jones could have gotten a lot more money somewhere else, with a higher likelihood of playing for a winning team.
"It's never been about money," Jones said. "I can get money anywhere. I want to put myself in the best place possible to win, and that man No. 26 [manager Buck Showalter] wants to win."
Showalter said he was excited about the possibility of Jones signing a new deal.
"The game gives you back what you put into it," Showalter said, "and I am real proud of what Adam has put into this. At the end of the day, I think he respects what we are trying to do here."
Showalter said the Orioles were trying to create a winning environment that would appeal to players and fans, but he minimized his role in creating that new environment.
"It's about the players taking ownership and holding themselves to a higher standard," Showalter said. "It's not nearly the brain surgery people make it out to be."
After the press briefing, I told him I politely disagree about his being a difference maker, and he again shot that idea down.
"I am just passing through here," he said, "before someone gets sick of me."
Later, I saw Showalter demonstratively talking to a couple reporters, saying that one of his pitchers used to take 1.8 seconds to throw to the plate with a runner on base.
"We have him down to 1.2," he said. "If I have Wieters' arm back there, it's just stupid to allow my pitchers not to give him that chance to throw out runners stealing."
I chuckled and said to myself: "Yeah Buck, have it your way. You don't make a bit of difference in this whole thing."
For the record, had the Orioles won yesterday, Showalter's record as Orioles manager would have been 133-133 during 266 games. So, with the loss, his winning percentage now stands at 49.6.
That number might not be great, but after 14 losing seasons in a row, it is real progress. His players see and feel it … and that is why one of them, a man named Adam Jones, feels comfortable that he is signing on with a winner.
Posted May 27, 2012