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Adam Jones Thinks Orioles Need Better, More Athletic Outfielders

January 28, 2017
Center fielder Adam Jones thought the Orioles made a good move in retaining outfielder Mark Trumbo. Trumbo, who led the major leagues in home runs with 47, will be back for three more years. Three years ago, the Orioles allowed Nelson Cruz, the 2014 major league home run leader, to walk away.

"It was smart not to let go of Trumbo, and we see what happened with Nelson Cruz. Some people would have thought he wasn't going to keep going at that pace, and he's kept going at that pace," Jones said at FanFest Jan. 28. "We missed with him. I don't think we were going to let Trumbo go off with another team and put up those type of numbers.

"I've always said when you have success with a group, you try to keep that group."

In 2015, Jones said he wanted to meet with team managing partner Peter Angelos about the Orioles becoming more aggressive, and they have.

"It's smart to keep your own guys because they mesh together, and they understand the process that each player goes through individually. If you have a good chain, don't mess with it," Jones said.

"We're going to have a competitive team. I don't want to just have a competitive team. I'd rather have a team that is going out there that's competing for a championship, not just competing just to get into the dance. … I'm only getting older."

Jones, in the fifth year of a six-year contract, is 31, and he isn't shy about telling executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette his thoughts.

"I'm glad that he's kept a lot of guys, frustrated that he's let some go," Jones said. "He wants to get the guys on his deal. At the end of the day, it's worked out in some cases. The way he's been doing his business, you can't fault the man for the way he's done it."

Jones declined to say definitively he wanted to remain with the Orioles when his contract expires after 2018.

"That's not up to me. It's up to the front office," he said. "It's a business thing nowadays, so it's up to the front office. If the front office feels that they're going to be competitive, then you go that route. ... You never know. Teams [sometimes] say they want to rebuild. I'd never feel [manager] Buck Showalter or Dan would say that.

"It's going to be what's best for myself, my family and then the team. We shall see."

While Jones is happy with the team's pitching, its infield defense and bringing back Trumbo, he has ideas on areas that need help.

"We don't need more power. I think that's more prevalent. We don't need more offense. I think we need to improve the outfield defense," Jones said.

"Just keep more speed, more athleticism out there. There's always a way to improve."

He likes having Trumbo back and the addition of outfielder Seth Smith from the Seattle Mariners.

"It's going to be hard. Those guys aren't necessarily known for their defense," Jones said. "We're still competitive in the outfield, but we just need to get a little more athletic."

Jones rejected the idea he could improve defensively by changing the way he plays center field.

"I don't necessarily buy that idea. Athletic personnel does help. You can play where you want, but if you don't have the guys to get to the certain spot, it doesn't really matter," Jones said.

He noted that there are still a number of outfielders available with just weeks before camps open.

"Just get more athletic guys," he said. "I'm not saying Trumbo and Seth Smith aren't athletic. They're very good athletes. They're not top of the line, defensive players, first."

After last season ended, Showalter said he wanted to move Jones out of the leadoff spot. Jones began batting leadoff in late May. In 2015, third baseman Manny Machado, another unconventional choice, batted leadoff. Jones says it's better if Machado bats third, and he's not opposed to returning to the top of the lineup.

 "I don't care. If need be, I'll do it again," Jones said.