Jones' love of Baltimore factor in trade talks

Outfielder's 10-5 rights allow him to wait for 'best fit'

July 26th, 2018

BALTIMORE -- Orioles outfielder compared the trade buzz around him this year to wearing a new outfit the first day of school and seeing what kind of interest it piqued.
"It's cool, it's flattering," said the longtime Oriole of being linked to teams like the Indians and Phillies. "It's uncommon territory."
Jones -- a free agent at season's end -- said Baltimore has not approached him with any potential deals in advance of Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. The 32-year-old has 10-5 rights and must approve any trade for it to occur, which makes the process less stressful for Jones. He won't wake up one morning to find he's on another team.
"There's going to be some discussions soon, because I guess I am next in line to get off the books," Jones said, referencing the trades of shortstop Manny Machado (Dodgers) and closer Zach Britton (Yankees) before him.
Signed to a six-year, $85.5 million extension in May 2012, Jones is making $17 million this season which means -- if he approves a deal -- the O's could save some salary the final two months of the season. For Jones, a trade to a contender would also fulfill a longtime goal: a chance for a ring.
But would he be willing to play a different role for a contender? Corner outfield or off the bench perhaps?
"I haven't played off the bench in a very, very long time. So that would definitely be uncharted territory," said Jones, who entered Thursday's game batting .277 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs. "If the scenario is right, I want to win, I want to play ball. Honestly, I would love to be out there every single day. But you look at these type of scenarios and look at what's best for you, the best fit for you. And when all the information comes, I'll be able to make a better decision based on the information. But as of now, I don't have any of the information of what anybody would want me to do."
His long-term future with Baltimore is in equal flux.
Asked if he'd view a trade as being in a pennant race for two months with the chance to sign with the Orioles after the season, Jones said: "Is the door open? You can want all you want. A lot of people want things. But if that door's not open, you're just going to be sitting outside knocking.
"It wouldn't be easy [leaving Baltimore]. The one thing is, what would happen to all the things I've done? Who would pick up the slack? Who would pick up all the community involvement? A lot of stuff has to continue, because those kids are counting on funding each year to continue the program that they're striving and grinding their ways through. There's a lot of dynamics to me here in Baltimore. It's not just between the lines -- [it's also] between the city limits, county limits."