Peanuts and Cracker Jack

Friday, March 21, 2008

ESPN | Humble Jones gives Orioles a face for the future

His name is Adam Jones, and the Orioles spent the better part of two months this offseason prying him loose from Seattle… If the camp buzz means anything, the effort was worth it.

Too bad “camp buzz” doesn’t win championships. Jones better be humble - he struck out once every four at bats at AAA last year, and he gets thrown out on 35% of steal attempts. And that’s by minor league catchers. I mean, he’s young. He’s going to get better. But what we gave up to get him was only one of the best pitchers in the league (I think Bedard led the league in strikeouts per batter faced last year, picking up 221 in only 182 innings). I’m all for going young - if the Orioles want to totally rebuild, and realize that they have to let Bedard go to pick up the prospects to make us competitive in three years, fine. Rebuild. But then why is Melvin Mora still on the team? You can’t go half way on rebuilding. Ditch everyone over 25. Orioles fans really will stick with you if you’re making a real commitment to winning. We’re just getting tired of this pretending. The team hung on to Mora too long. They hung on to Tejada too long. They seem to be stringing Brian Roberts along over a trade to the Cubs. I do like Jones' attitude, though.

“I hate it when people say, ‘Look at all the stuff you’ve done,’” Jones said. “Well, I did it in Triple-A. When I got an opportunity in the big leagues last year, I hit .246. I didn’t do everything I could with the opportunity I had.

That’s exactly what you want to hear from your new 22-year-old outfielder. He’s not coming in cocky, crowing over his .968 OPS last year. He’s putting it on himself to perform and prove he deserves to be there. The season starts pretty soon, and I’m getting into the baseball mood (At least I will be as soon as I’m mathematically eliminated from my NCAA tournament pool). I’m curious to see how Bedard does in Seattle. Part of me is hoping he strikes out 350 with a WHIP of under 1 and wins the Cy Young. That way I can say, "I told you so”.

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