Jones to get plenty of playing time in Arizona

March 11th, 2019

PHOENIX -- The D-backs needed outfield depth, and needed a place to play, so Monday's news that the two parties agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal (with an additional $2 million in incentives) should not have come as a surprise.

Although , who has spent his entire pro career in the infield, will still likely get the majority of starts in center, Jones will help spell corner outfielders and

Jones will also see time in center when Marte plays shortstop or second base, and he will be of even more value there should (strained left oblique) not be ready when the season opens later this month.

“We see [Jones] playing quite a bit,” general manager Mike Hazen. “I think he’s going to play all three outfield spots for us. He obviously is a really good hitter, makes a lot of contact, has power. When we broke it down, we felt like given the days off we would give guys, in and around our team, there was a large chunk of at-bats that were going to be divided out over the course of the season. We felt like adding Adam would really help us take a decent portion of those.”

Jones, 33, had a slash line of .281/.313/.419 in 145 games for the Orioles last season before becoming a free agent. Over his 13-year Major League career, he has been selected to five All-Star Games and hit a combined .278/.318/.456.

Jones is also revered for his personality and clubhouse presence, the latter of which is particularly important for the D-backs, who lost veteran leaders , , and during the offseason.

“We feel pretty strongly in the [importance of] culture within those walls,” Hazen said. “We’re just excited to add him, the quality person, teammate, leader. We feel like he’s going to fit great in our clubhouse. He has a pedigree of winning -- has been in winning environments almost his entire career -- and that matters to us in what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The reviews of Marte in center so far this spring have been good, and Hazen said that there was no one thing that prompted the club to acquire Jones at this time.

If Dyson is healthy, it looks as though Marte, Dyson and Jones will all see time in center. Whether is part of that mix depends on whether he or make the team in a bench role.

“I would say center field is probably more that – mix and match, to some degree -- but we’ll see how it plays itself out,” Hazen said. “I can’t project out too far on that. You get yourself in trouble with the way the season runs and things that happen, but sitting here right now, I think center field is going to be a position that will have some split opportunities to at least start.”

The defensive metrics have not been kind to Jones as a center fielder recently, but through even better positioning, the D-backs seem to think they can offset that to a degree.

“We’re aware of what the defensive metrics say,” Hazen said. “We talked to Adam about it quite a bit, talked through how it would work positioning and things like that. He’s always been somebody that has handled center field very well.”