The Lamentation over Jones

When the Mariners caved in to Baltimore’s demands and agreed to build a package for Erik Bedard around outfielder Adam Jones, most of the Mariners blogosphere was livid. I personally wrote that I wouldn’t swap Jones for Bedard straight up, much less adding in George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio. Our response to the deal was a combination of exasperated frustration and resignation to rooting for an organization who just didn’t understand how valuable Jones was.

Not everyone saw it the same way we did, though. The local media was especially supportive of dealing prospects for a proven all-star starter, and were quick to point out that Jones hadn’t established himself as a major leaguer yet. When, at the end of May, he was hitting .242/.292/.351 with just two home runs and an 11/46 BB/K rate, they gladly patted themselves on the back and reminded everyone that Jones wasn’t as good as we thought, and trading him away was justified, even if Bedard had been a disappointment.

Since June 1st, however, he’s been on a mission to justify our faith, hitting .327/.364/.484 and getting promoted to the #2 hole in the O’s line-up. Still just 22-years-old, he’s raw as can be (5.2% BB%, 23.2% K%, .130 ISO), but is still producing quality results without putting all his physical skills to use.

When Jones adds a bit more selectivity to his approach at the plate and grows into his power, he’s certainly got potential as a .290/.340/.470 type of hitter, and combined with his defense in center field, he’s a star in the making. Don’t let the early struggles fool you – Adam Jones is one of the best young players in baseball.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

12 Responses to “The Lamentation over Jones”

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  1. Steve Nelson says:

    Dave – so you’ve gone from Genesis to Lamentations!!! If the Mariners hire Chris Antonetti do you promise to give us a “Dry bones” post??

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  2. arbeck says:

    I was having a good day. Now I need to go cry.

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  3. Pat says:

    But… but… Erik Bedard is a Proven(tm) Ace(tm)!

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  4. Joser says:

    But the geniuses that comprise the local media will let this pass unmentioned, or claim that “nobody could see this coming.” That phrase must come easily for them at this point, since they’ve been repeating it so much to explain how they picked the Mariners to contend (despite the local anti-media predicting otherwise — and boy, are the harsh comments attacking that post hilarious to read in light of the season so far).

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  5. Sky says:

    Even if Jones hit .242/.292/.351 for the whole year, it was a bad trade.

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  6. Heath says:

    But the Oriole fans sure like the trade! Tell Bill Bavasi thanks for us!

    I really liked the trade for Baltimore but, man, it’s looking like a good old-fashioned fleecing at this point.

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  7. MrLomez says:

    Sorry, but the fact is Jones has stunk all year, and the recent spike in BA is still pretty much devoid of any kind of sustained power surge. Will it eventually show up? Maybe.

    But as a non-Mariner fan living in Seattle, I think it’s pretty laughable how that deal was thrashed by the city’s baseball intelligentsia, and now, despite Jones’ obvious struggles, there still exists this kind of straw-grasping to justify the criticisms from last summer.

    More power to you, I guess.

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  8. Dave Cameron says:

    By pretty much any definition of the word, Adam Jones has been a league average hitter in 2008 while playing center field. If you think that “stinks”, well, then I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care what you think.

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  9. MrLomez says:

    Maybe saying Jones has “stunk” is a little harsh (though I’m confused as to why that outrages you so much). Regardless, around these parts Jones was considered a Golden Boy, a can’t miss prodigy. When the Bedard deal went down, everyone lost their s@%^. As it turns out, Jones, who at 22 stills has ample time to prove either side right, has been exceptionally (let’s agree on) bland in his first full time gig.

    What is funny to me is that you would point to a month and a half of AB’s, which haven’t even been all that remarkable, as some kind of vindication for your disdain of the trade. I’m not saying it was a good trade nor I am saying it was a bad trade. But this premature “see, I told you so” stuff, coming from either side, is kind of funny to someone who has nothing invested in it either way.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight. Just offering an opposing viewpoint.

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  10. Dave Cameron says:

    In your first post, you condescendingly refer to the “intelligentsia”, call the post “laughable” and “straw-grasping”, and you’re not sure why I’m not a big fan of what you wrote? Seriously?

    As for the “exceptionally bland” comment…

    AL: .264 BA – Jones: .285 BA
    AL: .333 OBP – Jones: . .329 OBP
    AL: .412 SLG – Jones: .413 SLG

    You can’t make an argument that Jones has been anything other than the definition of a league average hitter so far this year. Do you know what they call a league average hitter who plays a good defensive center fielder?

    A really valuable player. The only AL center fielders who have been better are four all-stars (Sizemore, Hamilton, Granderson, Ichiro), one of the the best young players in the game (B.J. Upton), and a guy who signed for $90 million in the offseason (Torii Hunter).

    Now, if you really can’t understand why a guy who is already a league average player at a premium position at age 22 doesn’t “stink” or isn’t “bland”, then I was right initially, and we have no reason to care what you think.

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  11. MrLomez says:

    …And you wonder why I laugh at how worked up Mariners fans have gotten about this deal.

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  12. Terry says:

    Actually, I do kind of wonder why you’d be mystified….

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