After 10 years, it seems hard to fathom a Baltimore Orioles team without Adam Jones in center field.
But that's a reality the Orioles could face after the 2018 season, when Jones' contract expires.
Jones' history in Baltimore is well-known. In May of 2012, when the Orioles were showing signs they were ready to break their streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons, Jones was having a standout season. The 26-year-old was eligible for free agency in the fall, and that's when the team made what was arguably it's best move under executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette -- signing Jones to a six-year extension for $85.5 million, which was a club record at the time.
"The dude rang the cash register every time he hit a home run," Duquette said at a news conference announcing the deal.
The Orioles were richly rewarded during the first five years of the contract, when Jones averaged 29 home runs and 88 RBIs while hitting .277.
In 10 seasons with the Orioles, Jones has been an All-Star five times and won four Gold Gloves. Though he's never played in a World Series, his teams have made the postseason three times.
Jones will enter the 2018 season with 1,618 hits as an Oriole, fourth all-time. Only Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray have more. He has 248 home runs with the team, trailing only Ripken, Murray, Boog Powell and Robinson.
Jones has also been active in the community, particularly with the Boys and Girls Clubs and sponsoring teams in the RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities).
Jones will be 33 when the contract ends, and it would be hard for the Orioles to say goodbye to a franchise player. Even if his stats in the final year of his contract approach the first five, a multi-year extension could be tricky.
While Jones is no longer a Gold Glove fielder, the Orioles haven't contemplated moving him out of center to right or left field. That move, while inevitable, could be uncomfortable.
Besides Jones, the Orioles have other key personnel whose contracts expire after the 2018 season: third baseman Manny Machado, relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton, as well as Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
Jones has been continually lauded by Showalter for his toughness. He played in all 162 games in 2012, and while he's had his share of injuries, he hasn't been on the disabled list since 2009.
When things haven't gone well for the Orioles, Jones has been a willing spokesman for the team and the obvious leader in the clubhouse. His heroics for Team USA in March's World Baseball Classic helped increase his visibility around the country
As much as Jones has identified himself with Baltimore, however, it's possible 2018 could be his last season with the Orioles. In the past, Jones has lobbied the team's managing partner Peter Angelos to extend his teammates. In a season-ending talk, Jones said he wouldn't do that again.
"I'm not going to advocate for anything," Jones said. "I just don't think you can go to the owner and say, 'Mr. Angelos, I would like this.' Nah, that doesn't work. I think everybody would do that if it worked that way. … They know I'm here throughout next year. There's nothing I can do about that part, but beyond that, it's up to them."