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Doug Glanville: Playing Deeper Could Make Adam Jones A Better Outfielder

February, 2017
Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Sarasota, Fla., Feb. 13, but it was former MLB outfielder and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville who ended up making headlines. 

When speaking about the Orioles' outfield, and specifically center fielder Adam Jones, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette mentioned Glanville.

"I noticed Doug Glanville recommended Adam could play a little bit deeper … to improve the Orioles' outfield defense," Duquette said.
 
Duquette's comments drew quite a bit of media attention and elicited some comments from Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

In an appearance on Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 14, Glanville talked about Jones' defensive play and answered the question: would positioning himself deeper make Jones a better outfielder? 

"If you want to talk about individual metrics, the answer is yes," Glanville said. "... Jones is one of the shallowest, from an average depth position, shallowest in Major League Baseball, and he was sort of neck-and-neck with [former Cubs and current Cardinals outfielder] Dexter Fowler. So the Cubs made an organizational decision to push Fowler back about 15 feet, and it really changed everything. So it depends on your team's point of emphasis."

Speaking at FanFest in Baltimore Jan. 28, Jones said he thought the Orioles should sign better, more athletic outfielders. The comments made headlines then and are still garnering plenty of attention. 

But should Jones have made the comments in the first place?

"Well, the etiquette would say you don't want to embarrass your teammates and all that, but you also know Jones is a leader. He's a captain, he's respected, and I think they, internally, know how to take things," Glanville said. "And the fact is, defense has become more and more, as it should, a single organism. So you have to see yourself connected in a bigger picture and a bigger scheme with your other outfielders and your other defenders."

Glanville said it's important for teams to evolve and adapt throughout the season based on the situation. Outfield positioning can also depend on the pitcher. When closer Zach Britton comes in, Jones doesn't necessarily need to play any deeper, since Britton induces weak ground balls at such a staggering rate. 

With spring training underway, the Orioles' outfield appears set, with Jones in center, Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard platooning in left, and Smith and Mark Trumbo sharing time in right. 

Glanville said the 2017 Orioles definitely have some questions, particularly surrounding their starting pitching, but he thinks if young right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can continue to develop, the Orioles will continue to compete.

"They're going to be competitive. I mean, Showalter's a fantastic manager, they have nice pieces," Glanville said. "... They could put more pressure on the bases; that could be an asset. Just small things, because they have so much power that they can make you sit back and wait for that three-run homer. 

"Those are small adjustments -- positioning, being aggressive on the bases -- and just hope they get strong performances from a Gausman or a Bundy, and these guys really evolve over a short period of time. That'll change absolutely everything. If those guys are dependable starters every fifth day, they're going be in contention."

For more from Glanville, listen to the complete interview here:



Dylan Sinn contributed to this story.