SARASOTA, Fla. – Adam Jones is eager to see how the Orioles will look when Dexter Fowler joins the team. Fowler will give manager Buck Showalter lots of different alternatives.
“I’ve created like 10 mock lineups with him, with him in the lineup with him out [of] the lineup. I see him leading it off, you’ve got [Manny] Machado, [Chris Davis] or me, flip us. You can put Machado in three, too. You can put me at two. You can do a lot of different things. You’ve got [Mark] Trumbo, [Matt] Wieters, and then let’s not forget [Hyun-soo] Kim, [Jonathan] Schoop and J.J. [Hardy],” Jones said.
“Showalter is going to [have] a headache deciding where to put people. At the end of the day, he’s not going to disrespect anybody if he puts them fifth with the lineup we’ve got. I think we’re pushing for the best lineup in baseball.”
Jones likes the team that’s been assembled. He’s played with most of them for several years, and likes their age and maturity.
“If you look at it, a lot of the ages are that 25-32 range. These are the years we need to do something. We have a great mix of the young talent with the veteran talent, and the young talent acts like veteran talent. I just think this is a good time for us. We have a good team. We just need to get through this camp, play good ball in spring training, get through the things that we need to get to, and knock on wood the season just goes the way it did in 2014,” Jones said.
Jones said he wanted an audience with managing partner Peter Angelos. He got results.
Not only are Davis, Wieters and Darren O’Day back, but the team has agreements with Fowler and Yovani Gallardo, although that one has been held up by a questionable physical.
“All you can do is ask, man. As a player, you want what you want. Trust me, there are tons of guys I want on my team. I love every guy on my team now,” Jones said.
“My message to the front office was to keep the core intact. We have a good core…I think fans need to understand, you just can’t go out and sign anybody you want. First and foremost, they have to play for Buck Showalter. That ain’t an easy guy to play for, so you don’t know who you’re getting. If you get a different type of player, Showalter might ship him on out.”
Jones, who has three seasons remaining on his contract thought the team set its priorities correctly.
“It’s a process. First of all, I’m glad we got O’Day and Davis back. Those were the two most important guys. I don’t know about the uncertainty about Gallardo, but I know we’ve got Fowler, so I think we’re just constantly improving and not just improving on the field, but mentally,” Jones said.
“Both of them have been in the postseason, been in big games, big moments, so we want to have them do it with us.”
The Orioles have been one of the best home run hitting teams in baseball for several years, and could be again.
“Fowler’s got some pop, especially in our ballpark. If it gets warm, he can hit some out there. Trumbo? I’m excited to see him hit in our ballpark,” Jones said.
“I’m excited. I want to see Kim in our ballpark. He’s a strong guy. I want to see him drive the ball into our bullpen area where it flies. That’s six weeks away from now? I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think this clubhouse is excited for the season. I’ve thought about, but first we’ve got to get there and get through this spring training healthy.”