Current members of the Orioles celebrated the holidays with children from the Webster Kendrick Boys & Girls Club in Northwest Baltimore. They played games and had lunch at the Dave and Busters in Arundel Mills mall. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was at the OriolesREACH Holiday Party at Dave and Buster's in Arundel Mills mall Thursday to present the Webster Kendrick Boys & Girls Club of Baltimore with a $75,000 check. But he couldn't avoid the obvious questions about his team's attempt to re-sign slugger Chris Davis.
Jones said he's very happy to hear that the club is making a big effort to bring back Davis, something he has been advocating for since he asked for more input with the front office during an interview with The Baltimore Sun last spring.
But while he's satisfied with the effort -- the club has reportedly offered Davis about $150 million -- he said it is up to Davis to decide where he wants to play, and Jones will respect that decision either way.
"First off, it's up to Chris. It's not up to me," Jones said. "He earned the right to become a free agent. He earned the right to play this out. It shows with the Orioles, it shows what I've lobbied for is working. It's just the effort. I can't be mad if he goes somewhere else. I can just be happy with the effort that has been given by the Orioles."
Jones said he is impressed that ownership has been aggressive in its attempt to retain some of the club's top free agents, which is much in contrast to a winter ago when the Orioles let Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis get away.
"By offering seven years and going above or around the $150 million mark, that's something that's very uncharacteristic of the Orioles as we have known through history. That just shows they want him," Jones said. "As a player, obviously you want C.D. He's a great clubhouse guy, and look what he does production-wise. At the end of the day, he holds all the cards and it's in his hands ... not the Orioles'."
Here are Jones' comments on several other subjects:
On his commitment to helping kids: "Someone helped me along the way. ... The Boys & Girls Clubs is where it started. I know there are kids who are like me who are there and just need a little bit of opportunity."
On the offseason in general: "I've been paying attention, as I should be, but I've also been staying in my place and letting folks do their jobs."
Reaction to Mark Trumbo acquisition: "I've seen that. I think Camden Yards can be a bandbox for him. He's a good player. I've heard a lot of good things about him. I've asked some players about [him] and they say he's a great teammate and a hard worker."
On the outlook for 2016: "Obviously, there was frustration when we hit that big skid in mid-to-late August, but we grinded it out. Unfortunately, we didn't make the playoffs, but we're back and we see our front office being aggressive trying to get some guys in here. We've got a lot of time until we all report to spring training, so for right now I think our team is going to be a little bit different, but I generally think it will be the same."
On quest to improve the pitching staff: "You can always use more arms and there are a lot of guys out there who are available and that market is going to slowly trickle down as the holidays and new year come. But I'm confident in our guys. I know [Chris] Tillman and [Miguel] Gonzalez are going to rebound. I know the rumors about [Wei-Yin] Chen, that he's probably going to head west. I know [Kevin] Gausman wants to prove he can do it at this level and he can. I'm confident in our guys, it's just a matter of getting back on the field and getting between the lines and just do it."
More on his desire to have Chris Davis back: "I love him. He's been my lockermate for five years. We've built a very good friendship, a good bond. I think we're a very good offensive tandem. If he's not back, that locker will be unavailable because no one's going to get it, so it's going to be three guys and 12 lockers. It's up to him. You can lobby and all that stuff, like last year I wanted Markakis because we've been together so long, but at the end of the day, when you've earned the right to become a free agent -- which is one of the hardest things to do in any sport -- you've got to weigh all your options and you hold all the cards. It's up to him. It's not up to me. It's not about how I feel. It's about how he feels."