Adam Jones took part in the Orioles “Social Media Night” yesterday, answering questions from fans. His answers didn’t play well with the home crowd. From the Baltimore Sun:
The star outfielder irked some fans in attendance with short responses during the question-and-answer session, and he earned especially negative attention for saying his favorite place in Baltimore was the airport so he could fly home.
Jones said afterward that he meant to say that he liked the airport because that’s where he picked up his family and friends who visited him which, um, OK, nice effort at a save, but I feel like no one is buying it. He did add, however, that his answers weren’t serious and/or that he was rushed and wasn’t concentrating because the event took place an hour before game time and his focus was elsewhere. He said he’d like to do the event again so he could “give better answers.”
Still, gotta wonder if Jones’ comment about enjoying leaving Baltimore is a Kinsley Gaffe. Also gotta wonder why this sort of stuff matters too much. If Jones were traded tomorrow, the people of Baltimore would drop him pretty darn quickly, so why is he expected to have any sort of enduring loyalty to the town? I know that’s how the fiction of sports loyalty works and no player is ever well-advised to act as if his team’s city is anything but the greatest on Earth, but it is kind of silly when you think about it.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.