Monday, November 28, 2011

Adam Jones' Contract Situation

Is he blowing a bubble mid-dive?  I'm not even mad, I'm impressed.
Let's start with a quick analysis of Adam Jones' raw monetary value to the Orioles according to Fangraphs.  Jones accumulated 2.9 WAR last season which is worth approximately $13M according to league-wide expenditures and player production.  Jones' actual salary last season was $3.25M meaning he provided the team with nearly $10M in surplus value if you subscribe to this particular method of player valuation.

Jones has 2 years left before hitting free agency after the 2013 season, putting him in the portion of his career where young players often sign extensions with the team they spent their first few years with.  As for next season, Tim Dierkes of projects Jones to receive a raise to $5.8M next season, a figure that seems realistic given his production this past year.

So the question is, what would an extension look like?  Well there are three main options in my opinion.  The first, and least desirable for the O's would be to go the Joey Votto route and sign Jones to a 2 year deal that covered both of his arbitration years.  This would look something like 2 years / $14M and would allow Jones to hit Free Agency on schedule.  The second option is to go year to year with Jones, either going through the arbitration process or signing him to a one year deal each offseason as was done last winter.  The third option (and most preferable) for the O's would be to sign Jones to a longer deal, likely 4 years, allowing him to hit Free Agency 2 years late, in 2015.  A deal of this type would be substantially larger as Jones would likely make significant money in Free Agency.  This might look like 4 years / $50M or something in that ballpark (I could see it being for as little as 40, as much as 55 depending on when the deal is signed).

There's no rush here and the O's have time to make this decision.  Britt Ghiroli of has even suggested that the O's wait and possibly trade Jones if they don't see contention in their future.  I don't see that happening, but the contract negotiations with Adam Jones will tell O's fans a lot about how soon Dan Duquette sees the team competing.

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