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Fan-friendly and consistent, Adam Jones approaching legend status in Baltimore

Fan-friendly and consistent, Adam Jones approaching legend status in Baltimore

Orioles fans are on a first name basis with the franchise’s all-time greats.

There’s Brooks, Frank, Eddie, Boog, Brady, Cal—and soon they’ll be joined by Adam. 

Adam Jones, already one of the best players in Orioles franchise history, will soon leave an unforgettable mark on the team. 

It’s not just his outsized personality or his record of community involvement. It's his ability to connect with fans.

Check out the concourse before an Orioles game and you'll see dozens of African American fans--and not a few white fans--wearing his jersey. 

Even though Jones doesn’t live in Baltimore fulltime, he’s one of the few Orioles to own property here, and he gets Baltimore. 

One of the best investments the Orioles made in recent years was their six-year extension to Jones. With two years remaining on it, Jones has been remarkably consistent. 

He’s hit 25 or more home runs and driven in 80 runs for six straight seasons. 

While his batting average dipped to .265 and he had a rough last month of the season, batting just .223 from Sept. 2 on, Jones hit much better after he was moved to the leadoff spot in late May.

Jones was hitting just .223 on May 27, and hit .282 as a leadoff batter. 

Manager Buck Showalter wants to move Jones out of the leadoff spot, thinking Jones will be more productive lower in the lineup. 

The 2017 lineup isn’t likely to feature Mark Trumbo, so there’ll be a place for Jones. Of course, the Orioles will have to find a suitable leadoff hitter to replace him. 

In the season just past, Jones continued to climb up the Orioles all-time lists.

He’s currently ninth in hits with 1,448, but with 167 hits next year, he would end 2017 trailing only Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray on the all-time list. 

Jones currently trails Brian Roberts by four hits and Ken Singleton by seven. With a hundred more hits, he’ll pass Nick Markakis, and he’s 126 away from Boog Powell. Brady Anderson is fourth with 1,614 hits.

Jones is already sixth on the team’s homer list with 222. With his next home run, he’ll tie Rafael Palmeiro for fifth place, and with two seasons left on his contract, he’ll take aim at Brooks Robinson’s 268 homers. 

His contractual situation may be a tricky one. While he’s had an outstanding four years, the Orioles need to address Chris Tillman, Manny Machado and perhaps Zach Britton and Jonathan Schoop before they get around to a player who’ll be 33 two years from now. 

Jones could make it easy (or harder) on them if he has two more years approaching his last four. 

He was the first of this group to sign an extension, in May 2012, and since them he’s watched J.J. Hardy, Darren O’Day and Chris Davis follow suit. 

His place in team history is assured even though without a World Series title, they may not erect a seventh statue to honor him. 

Jones’ time in Baltimore has been honorable. Not only the community involvement and the stellar play, but in recent years he’s become the team spokesman. 

In the latter part of 2015 and through much of 2016, Jones has been the go-to guy—not when the team wins—but when it loses—and others hide. 

His best interviews have come after bad streaks, bad losses or controversial incidents. 

Jones was won over by Hyun Soo Kim, and when a beer can was tossed at Kim during the wild-card game in Toronto, there was Jones looking for the miscreant and addressing it afterward. 

In his time in Baltimore he’s seen treasured teammates leave. He hurt when Nick Markakis, who he admired for his lack of pretension, left two years ago. 

He stood up for Davis and met with Peter Angelos to make a case for increased payroll and refused to knock Orioles fans for small crowds at crucial games. 

This offseason, Jones could see Matt Wieters, who’s second to him in tenure, go as well. 

He knows not to get too attached to teammates. When Steve Clevenger made disparaging comments on Twitter, Jones said that most of his teammates were acquaintances and not friends. 

But, he is attached to speaking out on social issues. Last month after he spoke about race and baseball to a national publication, Jones followed that up with a 12 ½ minute interview about the subject, both reiterating and expanding on his comments, which were perfectly reasonable. 

It’s perfectly reasonable to expect at least two more good seasons—and maybe more—from Jones, excuse me, from Adam. 

Cal, Brooks, Frank, Boog, Adam. Sounds about right. 

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Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

USA Today Sports

Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Cobb's comfort and familiarity with the AL East was the deciding factor in his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

"They used the AL East and the success I've had in it to their advantage," the 30-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after finalizing a $57 million, four-year contract. "They kept challenging me with it and I love the challenge of pitching in this division and they know that over the times we talked. They did a really good job of making me feel like this is where I need to be."

Cobb gets $14 million in each of the first three seasons and $15 million in 2021, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus in each year he pitches 180 innings. Baltimore will defer $6.5 million from this year's salary and $4.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He gets $2 million of the deferred money on Nov. 30, 2022, and $1.8 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2023-32. If he doesn't pitch at least 130 innings in 2020, an additional $5.25 million of the final's year salary would get deferred, payable $1.75 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2033-35.


Cobb has a full no-trade this year, then can list 10 teams from 2019-21 that he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

He had spent his entire six-season big league career with Tampa Bay and was the last big-name starting pitcher available in a slow-moving free agent market. He joined Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, who were signed last month, in a revamped rotation that includes holdovers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season. He pitched 179 1/3 innings in his first full year back after missing nearly two seasons because of Tommy John surgery.

He had turned down the Rays' $17.4 million qualifying offer in November, and Baltimore pursued him from the start of free agency.

"They didn't stop bothering me the whole offseason," Cobb said. "They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you and the questions you ask and not questioning anything that's gone on. Everyone's got flaws that they come with and potential things you could really harp on that might not be your strong suit, but they never went down that avenue. They always told me how much they like certain aspects of what I do on and off the field, and just kept repeating how well I fit in here."


Cobb is 48-35 with a 3.50 in six big league seasons. Baltimore will lose its third-highest draft pick, currently No. 51, and the Rays get an extra selection after the first round as compensation.

Jose Mesa Jr. was designated for assignment Wednesday to clear a roster spot.

Baltimore opens on March 29 at home against Minnesota, but Cobb won't be ready to pitch then. He has agreed to be optioned to a minor league affiliate to help build up innings.

"I'm going to be pushing it as quick as I can," Cobb said. "That's going to be up to them. They've invested in me for a four-year period and as much as we know how much every game matters even early in April, we're going to have to look out for the overall future of this whole thing and whole contract and whatever they determine to be the way to protect me and my feedback from the bullpens I'm going to be throwing here in the next few days will probably determine the timeline."

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."