Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game agaisnt the Athletics. That’s notable because Jones hadn’t played since September 5, nearly a week ago. The Orioles had two off days but Jones — a free agent after the season — did not start any of the three games against the Rays over the weekend.
The common justification for not starting Jones is that the 41-102 Orioles simply wanted to get a better look at some young outfielders who will be with the team beyond this season. Joey Rickard started in center field all three games against the Rays with Cedric Mullins in left. However, Jones invoked his no-trade protection earlier this season when the O’s were discussing a trade with the Phillies. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun thinks Jones’ recent benching is, in part, related to that torpedoed transaction. Which, by the way, Jones had every right to do.
Jones, who has spent 11 of his 13 seasons in the majors with the Orioles and has become the face of the franchise, enters Tuesday’s action batting .285/.317/.429 with 14 home runs and 55 RBI in 542 plate appearances. He’s been one of the few players passing muster in Baltimore this season. Naturally, the Orioles are finding a way to make his send-off awkward.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.