Is this Adam Jones’ Final Year in Baltimore?

Everytime we celebrate an Adam Jones home run, all 14 of them, I hear that unmistakable “cha-ching” of a cash register as the ball sails over the fence.  Congratulations #10, you are quickly becoming the next 100 million dollar man.

With Matt Wieters closing in on a blockbuster deal, it appears that the Orioles will soon arrive at the same dilemma Milwaukee faced as Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun closed in on free agency a year ago.  Realistically, can an 80 million dollar payroll support both contracts, in addition to the deals that are already on the books for Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts?  I think we know the answer.  It’s become the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

Just to be clear, The O’s have Jones under team control for one more season (arbitration eligible in 2013 for the final time).  The problem with retaining him on another one year deal is the obvious reduction in trade value.  The minute Jones begins his final season, his value on the trade market plummets…and Dan Duquette knows this.  So the team is left with 2 choices after this season; Give Jones the monster contract or trade him.

My guess (and I hope I’m wrong) is that 2012 will be Jones’ final year in Baltimore.  Sadly, it makes too much sense to trade him while his value is at an all-time high.  I suspect Jones (on the trade market) could fetch a pretty good 3rd baseman or a top of the rotation starter.

I suppose a significant boost in ticket sales could save the day for O’s fans hoping to see both Wieters and Jones in Baltimore for the rest of their careers.  I spoke to a GM about this recently and he said NOW is the time to solidify a core group.  Let’s hope Mr. Angelos agrees.

If you were the O’s GM and you had the authority (and the resources) to lock up ONE player, who would it be?  The Brewers chose Braun.

Tell us who YOU would choose!

Let us know at www.Twitter.com/OrioleNotes

More O’s Commentary at www.OrioleNotes.com

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