Halfway through a candid conversation with Orioles center fielder Adam Jones on the ”R2C2” podcast that CC Sabathia co-hosts with Ryan Ruocco, the veteran Yankees left-hander said the reason they have the show is to “let guys say whatever they want, let them express themselves however they want.”
With Jones as their guest a day after baseball’s nonwaiver trade deadline passed — without him consenting to a trade as part of the Orioles’ July teardown — there was certainly plenty of ground to mine on that front.
Jones elaborated on his Tuesday postgame comments when he sat with Sabathia and Ruocco.
Jones outlined some of the discussions leading up to the deadline, why he wasn’t interested in the trade to the Philadelphia Phillies that was on the table, and how he sees the rest of the season playing out for him with Cedric Mullins on the horizon.
The podcast was recorded before Wednesday’s game, and released Thursday. Here some highlights of Jones’ comments:
On if it was a hard decision to stay with the Orioles
“Not really. It was based [on], me and my wife talked about it, and my agent, we talked about every scenario that could possibly happen. And it was in my best interest, personally, to stay. It was in the team’s best interest, obviously, to get rid of salary. … You know what they’re going to do, but I earned my right to say no, and I said, ‘Hell no. You’re not just going to tell me or stick me where you want me to go, and I’m not going to just do you a favor just because you want me to. … I signed a six-year contract. I’m going to honor that six years and I’m going to stay until the end.’
“But granted, there’s another month. With the August waiver wire, something could happen. There’s a lot of trades that still happen at this time. But you can’t come to me and ask me to waive my 10-5 rights a few days before the no-trade deadline. That’s a dialogue you could easily have. … You could have come to me in early July and be like, ‘Hey, obviously, the season ain’t going where it’s going. Would you be willing to waive it three or four weeks prior?’ You ask me five days before, I’ve got a wife and two kids. I ain’t just uplifting just because you feel that way.”
On whether that would have been different if the conversations happened before
“It’d have been a different result, and I don’t think there would have been any animosity on their side toward me. I don’t have any animosity. I’m still happy as hell. I get they want to dump salaries. I get that. But you can’t dump salary. I earned it. I earned every single bit of the 10-5s, and it’s in my right.
“These are the things that you work hard for. These are the things people sat out for. These are the things people got colluded on for, for the simple reason that I can have that right. I went in there and thanked [coach] Wayne Kirby. He was on the picket fence back in ’94. I went in and thanked him, I said thank you for allowing me to invoke a right that you all fought for.”
On whether he felt animosity from the Orioles
“Yeah, a little bit. I heard some of [Dan] Duquette’s comments now, and I’m just like, ‘OK. All right. You can say what you want, but I earned it.’ At the end of the day, we traded [Jonathan] Schoop, we traded Manny [Machado], we traded [Brad] Brach, [Zach] Britton. … But they ain’t got no rights. They didn’t have it.
“Look at [Minnesota Twins first baseman] Joe Mauer, he’s a 10-5 guy. [Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian] Beltré, he’s not waiving his rights. They’re not winning right now, but he’s not waiving his rights. But he’s comfortable. He’s happy where he’s at. He’s a little older, he’s 39. Still balling.”
On whether it was tempting to go to Philadelphia and join a pennant race
“That was the biggest one out there, but I just don’t know if it fit me 100 percent. I think that they have a great team … a great young team with a lot of energy. They’ve got some good vets, with Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta to really push them, two guys who have been in the playoffs. … They faced each other in the World Series two years ago.
“But I don’t think it fit me personally. I was probably going to go there to platoon in right field with Nick Williams and be in more of a mentor role. I believe I’ve got four years left of everyday baseball to play. The role didn’t fit me personally, and if it didn’t’ fit me, I have the right to say, ‘You know what? That’s not going to work for me.’ ”
On whether he’d be mad if he didn’t play down the stretch for the Orioles
“It’ll definitely annoy the hell out of me, because I’m a player. But I understand. I’ve said this since like early June — call up this [Cedric] Mullins kid. He can play. He’s ready. Call him up. See what you have. You’re going to call somebody up in September and then rush him out there for a month? You don’t need 80 at-bats, you need 150, 200 at-bats to show what you can do at this level. … I said, ‘Call him up. Play him. He needs to play.’
“Then in September if you want to say, ‘We want to make you comfortable and have him play center field every day,’ that’s fine with me. I’ll move over to right, learn how to play right all over again, and create my value going forward to the offseason. What if I went over to right and they said, ‘Damn, he still can play defense?’ That might prolong my career another four or five years.”