St. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who has likely played his last game of the season, looked to the future before Saturday's game, saying he plans to meet with managing partner Peter G. Angelos again this offseason.
Jones, 32, said he's feeling better physically despite not playing since last Sunday because of general leg soreness, but likely won't play to ensure he will go into the offseason without injury. Even before Jones — who has played at least 147 games in seven of the past eight seasons — was shelved, he appeared to be in obvious discomfort while legging out balls in the outfield gaps.
"I just think at this point me trying to push it wouldn't be the best for my behalf," Jones said. "The last homestand I really pushed it and tried to get in the lineup every day for the fans in the final homestand. At the end of the day, I don't want to go limping into the offseason. The last few years I've been able to go into the offseason healthy and strong and be able to get stronger, so I think this is the same instance and I don't want to push it and hurt myself."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Jones has been dealing with more than just leg soreness.
"There's a lot of stuff," Showalter said. "It's just not some leg soreness. A lot of it has to do with the turf. … I've talked many times to Adam over the last year or two that these are things we need to back off of, and was did some this year. But his adrenaline sometimes gets in the way and it's up to me to be that voice of reason."
Jones has campaigned Angelos to keep core players over the previous two offseasons, pushing for the Orioles to re-sign first baseman Chris Davis and reliever Darren O'Day two winters ago and then again to keep designated hitter Mark Trumbo last offseason.
"This offseason, I think I'll be an advocate; there's a lot of things," Jones said. "A lot of things that need to be done. We've got a lot of money coming off the books this offseason. We also have a lot of question marks after next year, so I'm going to get away from this game and recalculate how I approach Mr. Angelos."
Jones said he would not campaign Angelos for a contract extension. Jones, third baseman Manny Machado and relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach are all eligible for free agency after the 2018 season.
"I'm not going to advocate for anything," Jones said. "I just don't think you can go to the owner and say, 'Mr. Angelos, I would like this.' Nah, that doesn't work. I think everybody would do that if it worked that way. I think the thing is — they know I'm here throughout next year. There's nothing I can do about that part, but beyond that, it's up to them."
Knowing the team faces a decision as to whether sell off parts to get prospects for the future, Jones said he'd be against that, wanting to make one more run at a championship with the current core.
"I would not be an advocate to rebuild and all that stuff," Jones said. "I'm only getting older. I want to win. I think you throw all your cards out there next year and see what you've got. Obviously, the All-Star break, the trade deadline and the waiver deadline are all significant dates to know where you're at and where you stand, where you can either buy more or sell off and officially rebuild, but I don't think you can mention that word 'rebuild' to Buck or Dan [Duquette] and them be too happy."
Asked whether this season — in which he has a .787 OPS, his best since 2013 — was the most physically challenging of his career, Jones said grinding through the 2012 season, the Orioles' first playoff season in 15 years, was more taxing, especially in September.
"We were fighting for that second wild-card spot and I didn't take any days off that whole year, so I think after that year I was exhausted physically and mentally," Jones said. "As I've gotten older, I've learned how to adapt to the physical and mental part of it. I'm drained. I think each year you just drain yourself."
Not goodbye, but see you later
Showalter said he's met with several players over the final weeks of the season, and he has an open-door policy for players who want to discuss team matters over the course of the year.
Among those meetings included ones with shortstop J.J. Hardy and right-hander Chris Tillman, both of whom are set to become free agents this offseason and aren't likely to return.
"I think it's harder for me sometimes than them," Showalter said. "They're young and in their 30s and the world's out there for them. Selfishly, I've been through a lot with those two guys. It's emotional for me watching them. I'm more about [saying] see you later than goodbye. This game has such a way of everybody crossing paths again."
Around the horn
Showalter was still perturbed about a controversial call that went against the Orioles in Friday's series opener. César Puello's pop up hit a part of the catwalk and was ruled fair, but Showalter still argued not only that the ball clearly hit the catwalk in foul ground but that there was no camera angle to allow him to argue for a replay. … With leadoff hitter Tim Beckham out after aggravating a hamstring injury, second baseman Jonathan Schoop batted leadoff for just the third time this season on Saturday.