Orioles center fielder Adam Jones held court following the team's first full-squad workout of spring training Wednesday and touched on a variety of topics, from his desire to meet with club ownership to a pair of new teammates at the corner-outfield spots to the annual rite of prognosticators picking the Orioles to finish last in the American League East.
Here's what Jones had to say:
On the addition of South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim to start in left field: “He’s attentive. That’s the thing about it. He knows he was a damn good player over there. Coming here is going to be an adjustment for him. I just think myself, all of the outfielders, the coaching staff, have all so far made him feel comfortable and he seems really comfortable playing catch, running the bases with us, hitting. You know how we are. As a team, we’re very easy to get along with. As long as you can come and bring the energy, we’re good. I think he’s going to be a good player here. Over there, he’s the man. Here, he doesn’t have to be the man. We have some guys like that. If he just comes in and does his job, plays some good defense, don’t [anger outfield coach] Wayne Kirby, I think he’ll be pretty good.”
On speaking to managing partner Peter G. Angelos in the offseason: "You see the result of that."
On whether he believed that would lead to an unprecedented offseason of spending: "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. … Everybody always want more and more. It’s human nature. You want more. But 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. It’s a process. First of all, I’m glad we got [Darren] O’Day and [Chris] Davis back. Those were the two most important guys. I don’t know about the uncertainty about [Yovani] Gallardo, but I know we’ve got [Dexter] Fowler, so I think we’re just constantly improving and not just improving on the field, but mentally. Fowler and Gallardo, if that locks up -- Fowler has [six] years, Gallardo has eight years service time. That adds a lot of experience. Both of them have been in the postseason, been in big games, big moments. So we want to have them do it with us."
On having a right fielder who can cover a lot of ground like Fowler: "To me it’s not about having someone who can go get the ball. It’s about having someone being there every day. Last year it was frustrating but understandable. I was working with Delmon [Young], working with [Travis] Snider. [Steve] Pearce was out there, C.D. was out there, Flash [Ryan Flaherty] would go out there sometimes. [Alejandro] De Aza would switch from left to right. [David] Lough would go to right. Dariel Alvarez came at the end. … [Henry] Urrutia came. And you look at my first seven years and it was me and Kakes [Nick Markakis] and then the left fielder. It just changed. It was a tough adjustment, but it was an adjustment I had to make. It’s not like the game is going to slow down or stop because I don’t have Nick Markakis next to me in right field. It was just an adjustment I had to make, and now with Fowler, someone who has proved he can play 150-plus games in a season, it just gives us stability. And he can play center field also. It just gives us stability because he’s an everyday player. And [when you play] for Showalter, you know you’re going to have five to seven guys that play 150 or at least 140. So he’s just going to be another guy out there who is going to be out there every day.”
On speaking with Fowler since he agreed to a three-year, $35 million deal Tuesday: “He’s excited. He should be on his way now. I know he was a little frustrated with the process of free agency. Trust me, he isn’t the only one. Players with [qualifying offers] are frustrated with the whole free agency process. He rode the wave just like Gallardo did and other players who are going to be signing in the next couple of weeks. It’s a weird process and I think that through the union we need to address that. Teams are happy because they’re getting enormous discounts, but the players are very unhappy because they’re getting held back because of the possibility of some first-round pick doing something in the big leagues one day. How many people play the game and how many people make it? Me personally, I get the farm system, but if you can have somebody who can help you right now -- and especially me, I’m not getting younger. I want to win. The sooner the better.”
On how the clubhouse stability is important: "The good thing about our stability is the age of it. Me, [I’m] 30, C.D. is 29 going to be 30, [Manny] Machado [is] 23, [Jonathan] Schoop [is] 24, J.J. [Hardy is] the oldest one at . That’s still a very good age. Fowler is 29. I think [Mark] Trumbo might be 30. Then you go with the pitching staff. [Zach] Britton is 28, [Chris] Tillman 27, Gonzo [Miguel Gonzalez] 31. If you look at it, a lot of the ages are that 25-to-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."
On how the lineup with Fowler compares with others: "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 Machado, C.D. 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 Trumbo, Wieters, and then let’s not forget Kim, Schoop and J.J. I think this lineup, 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."
On whether he is open to batting second: "I hit second in [2008 and 2009], and then in , I went to three. I’ve hit there. If Manny’s hot, I’ll get a lot of fastballs, cool. I’m fine with it. I don’t care, man. I don’t care about the individual stuff. I just want to win. If we win, I’ll be happy. If I’m 0-for-4 and we win, [I’ll be happy]."
On having lots of power potential as a team: "We might be. Fowler? 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. He can mis-hit the ball and hit it to the damn Hilton [hotel]. 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.”
On the Orioles being predicted to finish last in the American League East: "You make a prediction? Cool, I’m running for president. … Oh, you've got to be 35? Mayor [of Baltimore]. I’ll run for mayor. Everybody creates an assumption, a prediction. It’s the way sports go. Somebody has to finish first, somebody has to finish last. You create the 28 teams in between. Cool."
On whether he had to cover more ground last season with the instability in the corner-outfield spots: "I’ve hit many, many walls with Markakis looking at me, helping me up. It’s just part of the game, man. The personnel doesn’t really matter. Some years I run into it more, some years I run into it less. Last year, the wall and I were very good friends. The wall, the ground, we were very good friends. It’s part of the game. Even running into the wall in Kansas City, I was on the field the next day. I told our pitchers before the game, I’d do the same thing. Don’t worry about it. The wall’s there to protect the fans from coming on the field, not me. The ball has got to be caught. That's my only mission. If I don’t, I look at it as a failure."
On trying to play 162 games in 2016: "I’m fine with it. … Manny did it last year, I did it in 2012. I think it’s a terrific accomplishment. ‘Cal Ripken, you son of a [gun]. I don't know how you did it. I don't care how you did it.’ … [Playing 162 is] a huge personal accomplishment, but there’s days that you need days off. I think Showalter is going to incorporate it for myself, J.J., C.D. At the end of the day, we need to be fresh for August and September. And if we played every single game going up to that point, we can’t take days off in August and September because we need every game at that point. I think he’s going to be a little cautious with it. I’m not talking about a day off a week, [more like] a day off every three weeks, or a month. Or a DH [day], just something to keep us off our feet."