Is Adam Jones Wearing a Ken Griffey Jr. Costume?

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Not that I’m aware of.

Adam Jones is not Ken Griffey, Jr.

In fact, Adam Jones isn’t even Brady Anderson.

But that’s not stopping the Orioles from horribly overvaluing Adam Jones. Nor is it answering the questions of why the Braves were asking about Jones and at least willing to discuss Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado in a trade for him to begin with.

If Orioles GM Dan Duquette indeed asked for Jurrjens, Prado and “at least two” of the following: Brandon Beachy, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino Julio Teheran and Mike Minor, then it’s clear that time away from the trenches didn’t mellow Duquette’s trading style at all. His method of dealing as GM of the Red Sox and Expos was to offer what he was willing to trade and ask for about a 60% markup on what it was worth. Sometimes it actually worked as evidenced by his trade for Pedro Martinez and when he acquired Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb.

Braves fans should be relieved that GM Frank Wren turned down that preposterous request.

But the Orioles are going to build around Jones? The Braves are pursuing him?


Jones’s star has fallen. In 2008, he was an excellent defensive center fielder; in 2009-2010 he was slightly above average; and he 2011, he wasn’t good at all.

At the plate, he seems to have some power.

“Seems” is the operative word because of his 25 homers in 2011, 19 came at Camden Yards. It could’ve been an anomaly because in prior years, his production was around even home to road, but it’s a concern especially if he’s being sent to Turner Field—not exactly a hitter’s paradise.

He doesn’t walk and strikes out a lot. His attitude left much to be desired before the arrival of Buck Showalter; the prior regime had told Jones he needed to play deeper in center field and he replied, “I’ll think about it.”

There haven’t been any public issues under Showalter.

And where are the Braves going to put him? In left field? If they’re going to do that, his poor defense in center field won’t matter, but if they’re even considering swapping Jurrjens and Prado for a bat, surely they can get someone who’s better than Jones.

The rumors are conflicting and the sense I get is that it’s more rumormongering and blowing a casual chat out of proportion into a substantive negotiation in the interest of webhits and discussion on a slow baseball news day.

Either way, if the Braves are pursuing Jones and the Orioles are looking to build around him, each side needs to take a step back and examine him more closely because he’s nowhere near as valuable as they think he is.


Dan Duquette And The Orioles Are A Fit

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Because Dan Duquette’s tenure with the Red Sox is judged in through the prism of hindsight and what happened after he left, he casts the shadow of the old school, miserable, paranoid, press-loathing baseball executive who would’ve been better-served to function in the 1970s when few outside an organization even knew who the general managers were.

In reality, the 1994 Expos—well on their way to the World Series when the strike hit—were largely constructed by Duquette; the Red Sox championship teams wouldn’t have been championship teams without the foundation laid by Duquette during his tenure.

Yes, it ended badly.

Yes, he treated the organization as if it was a closed, dictatorial society where even the slightest bit of information being leaked out risked one being fired.

Yes, he epitomized the governmental functionary—a policy wonk—more comfortable away from other humans.

But it was Duquette who had the nerve to let both Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn walk away from the Red Sox—amid media and fan firestorms—and was right in both cases, especially when he said Clemens was in the twilight of his career.

Perhaps it was the perceived slight that sent Clemens on the road to PED use and skidding down to the depths of a questionable career conclusion, perjury and embarrassing personal revelations, but Duquette’s assessment was dead-on target.

Duquette traded Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe; he signed Tim Wakefield for nothing; acquired Pedro Martinez; and put together a team that was highly competitive and unlucky in that they continually ran into the Yankees in the midst of their late 1990s dynasty.

The new age GM who’s handsome, well-spoken and skillful at turning phrases designed to say absolutely nothing is part of a mutually beneficial relationship between the media and the GM. The media writes stories with an “insider” tack, shunning criticism for those who are of like mind and provide information; the GM gets his message out to the masses to frame the story the way he prefers.

Duquette was not good at that.

But there’s nothing wrong with having Duquette do the GM work of finding big league or near big league ready players to fit into the Orioles rebuild. His drafts with the Red Sox were terrible and he’s awful with the media, but installing a draft guru type to handle the draft; letting manager Buck Showalter be the organizational frontman; and Duquette doing what he did with the Red Sox—decide which players are on the downside and to make savvy trades—is a reasonable delegation of duties.

The top-down strategy of a GM being in charge of the entire show is trendy, but that doesn’t make it the singular way to work.

The Orioles have whiffed in trying to go “new school” with Tony LaCava and others who’ve turned them down, but it could be that they’re better off going old school with Duquette because his time as a baseball executive is far better than he’s ever been given credit for.