Adam Jones would add stability, and save cap room

Besides the addition of a left-handed relief pitcher, the New York Mets are still a healthy right-handed hitting center fielder away from competing for a division crown. Their current power hitting right-handed outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes, will not be ready until at least the middle of the season, and Juan Lagares is as injury prone a player there will ever be. For this reason, the Mets outfield appears to be made up of completely corner outfielders. With this in mind, the Mets should have their eyes set on Adam Jones to plug the hole that has been vacant in the outfield for some time now.

Jones had a down year in Baltimore last season, there is no doubt in that. Although he batted a nice looking .281, his power numbers were down in a ball park that is known to foster power numbers. He hit 15 home runs last season, his lowest since joining the Orioles in 2008. His 63 RBIs were also the lowest total for him since that first 2008 season. His defensive numbers were also down, as his range factor slid down to 2.26 last season. Now that all of the bad information on Jones is out of the way, it is time to look at some of the benefits that would come with signing the veteran.

As of right now, the Mets are extremely left-handed in their batting order. The relief could come in the form of Cespedes, but no one is quite sure when that will be or if it will even happen in the 2018 season. There is no inclination that he would be the same hitter once he got back into the lineup as well. Jones would be able to provide consistency to this right-handed outfield spot, while also being able to be relied on in terms of health. Over the past three seasons, Lagares has played in 203 games. Over the same span, Jones has played in more than double, at 444 games.

In addition to his reputation for being a healthy player, Jones also has the reputation of being a fantastic teammate. Last season, in one that was historically rough for the Orioles, Jones was a constant for the team. While he was being shuffled around, a player of his stature could have easily complained and made things harder for his teammates. Instead, Jones was a leader in the clubhouse, and mentored a lot of the younger players.

The Mets have not had a true center fielder in quite some time. The Mets were among the worst in center field defense last season, and having a consistent option with gold glove history would be a solid pick up for the Mets. In addition, Jones will likely cost less than A.J. Pollock. This means that even after Jones, the Mets will still have some money to spend on a lefty reliever. Signing Jones would help the team address the need of having a right-handed true center fielder that can stay healthy, while leaving room for the lefty that they need in the pen.

22 comments for “Adam Jones would add stability, and save cap room

  1. December 22, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Dalton wasn’t Jones shifted to a corner position by the O’s last season? Why do you suppose they did that? So if you’re looking for a “true” CF how does an aging Jones with diminishing defensive abilities answer your quest for a true CF?

    • Rae De Voe
      December 23, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Jones is no longer capable of playing CF but he still can hit for average, and steal bases. Melky can only play LF or RF, and no longer runs the bases well. It is a toss up of what the Mets and BVW think they need. Marwin is who they need but they do no want to pay him the 50 million he wants. Unfortunately the Mets only have lefty hitting Kevin Kaczmarski as a guy who is capable of playing CF, and he has better defensive minor league stats then Juan Lagares. The Mets need another CFer who hits at least adequately from the right side but can also catch and throw the ball, The Mets need to supply the Syracuse/AAA team with another righty CFer just in case Lagares gets hurt as he is prone to do. Braxton Lee was a good pick up but he is nowhere near ready for the Majors.

  2. Dan
    December 22, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Jones would be a decent RH Bat and corner OF.
    I’d rather see Lagares and Nimmo in CF.
    Nimmo and Conforto need to play everyday.
    If the cost of Jones is decent and he doesnt mind not starting everyday, I think he could be a good compliment piece to the OF mix.
    90% of the time the I could see the lineup as:
    Conforto, Nimmo, Jones and Conforto, Lagares, Nimmo
    (Other times when guys need a breather or are banged up you can mix it up further.)

  3. Metsense
    December 22, 2018 at 8:49 am

    If we look at 2018 defensive stats for center fielders of comparing Rdrs: Lagares +5, Nimmo -2, Conforto -8, Jones -18 and in 2017 -12. Jones would be a poor defensive center fielder and not as good as what is on the recent roster.
    The switch hitting Marwin Gonzalez is younger and had a similar OPS+ as Jones. Judging by the numbers, offensively and defensibly , Gonzalez is a better choice than Jones. I think Gonzalez should get a chance as the backup center fielder before Nimmo or Conforto. Imagine Gonzalez resting Cano, Rosario and each outfielder once a week. Now that is my idea of a versatile player who had a 2.5 bWAR in 2018.

    • Mike Walczak
      December 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      I’ll take Gonzalez any day of the week over Jones. Adding Jones is equal to adding Vargas, Adrian Gonzalez, Bautista and Reyes last year.

      Bad choice. At least Rajai Davis can steal bases.

  4. LongTimeFan1
    December 22, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Dalton – RE:

    “As of right now, the Mets are extremely left-handed in their batting order.”

    That’s blatantly inaccurate. Currently our projected starting lineup is 3 Left and 5 Right.

    Nimmo, Conforto, Cano,

    Frazier, Alonso, Rosario, Ramos, Lagares.

    • MattyMets
      December 23, 2018 at 8:31 am

      I have read some great things about Jones’ clubhouse leadership. To his credit, he’s been a consistently good and durable player, unlike Pollock, who’s built a reputation on one great year, a la Jacoby ellsbury. I’m inclined to move on from Jones, given his age, declining production and what he’s reportedly asking for.

      I think there’s no question the Mets need another outfielder. But whether we bring in a Jon Jay type to platoon with Lagares or a solid starter to push Lagares to the bench depends on the Cespedes forecast. To listen to Callaway and BVW, it sounds like he’ll be back mid season, but given the Mets history with this type of thing and the Tulowitzki example, how confident can we be in that projection? I think step one is to sit down with Cespedes and his doctors and trainers and get a good read on the time table. And I sure hope that that way Anderson allowed Cespedes and his camp to play by their own rules is a thing of the past now.

  5. TJ
    December 22, 2018 at 9:50 am

    The Mets need to add a true CF, not a former true CF. Jones still has many positive attributes but he is not a fit. If our cheapskate owners won’t be in on Machado or Harper, they should not be cutting corners on the rest of the needs.

    • LongTimeFan1
      December 22, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Jones would be a nice addition but not as full time CF unless there’s a fix for his diminished CF performance.

      However, if the season starts today, we’re actually very right hand hitting -..5 vs.3.

      I think we should pursue Harper, make Nimmo the primary CF but keep working with him to continue growing his defensive game. There’s plenty room for growth including his throwing mechanics which sometimes are disjointed, aggressive scoops and throws, crow hopping, getting excellent jumps and running back on the ball. He has the speed for CF and shows propensity to leave his feet for plenty diving plays. The more he plays CF, the better he’ll become.

      • TJ
        December 22, 2018 at 7:42 pm

        Nimmo should only be considered as an emergency CF. He has an extremely weak throwing arm and below average range.

        The Mets need to be extremely precise with their remaining additions. Jones is a nice player, but that leaves them with only Lagares that can play a solid CF.

  6. December 22, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Jones can’t field anymore and is a mediocre hitter easy pass

  7. December 22, 2018 at 11:22 am

    I hate to be critically but this piece is poorly researched.

    • LongTimeFan1
      December 22, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      I agree. Factual errors and inadequate editing.

      As for Jones, I’d love to have him. Still a dangerous player, plays very hard, puts ball in play, has power and is terrific teammate, a humanitarian, and handled reduced September playing time like a pro. He could be the Mets version of what Nick Markakis became for Braves when he seemed on the downside – but rebounded.

      • Bob P
        December 22, 2018 at 2:13 pm

        I disareee with both of your assessments that this article is poorly researched and has factual errors. The statement that the Mets are extremely left handed is not factually inaccurate. Even if they end up starting the season with the lineup you mentioned, arguably the 3 best hitters on the team are LH. That’s also assuming that Alonso starts the year (it could be Smith for all we know) and its entirely possible that within a short time we will see more of McNeil at 3rd than Frazier.

        If you want to say it’s factually inaccurate solely because you expect a 5-3 right versus left ratio then I think you are just trying to make a point based on a technicality. I think that the lineup you’ve proposed would have more trouble against lefties than righties. It may not but I think the point of the article is that the Mets still could use more RH hitting help and I agree with that, even though it certainly improved with Ramos.

        • December 22, 2018 at 3:28 pm

          The factually inaccuracy is about the claim about Jones’ ability to play CF and being a good hitter

  8. Pete from NJ
    December 22, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Actually the title is: “…would add stability.” Adam Jones is imperfect but as a low cost piece, he would be a part of a complete team.

  9. Herb Goldstein
    December 22, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    After the Cano trade resulted in a net $2.5 million reduction in 2019 payroll, signing Ramos for $3.75 million less than projected, and Familia for $4.67 million less than projected, will BVW apply the almost $11 million savings to a deal with Harper? Brodie seems very aggressive, so I wouldn’t put it past him.

    I would certainly accept the defensive liabilities of Nimmo in CF to get Harper into the everyday lineup. After all, signing Adam Jones would put us in exactly the same position.

    That said, if Harper is not to be, I would not be at all unhappy with an Adam Jones signing. He is still a fine offensive player, handles the outfield corners well, nd is a great clubhouse guy.

    • Mike Walczak
      December 22, 2018 at 11:23 pm

      He had a .313 OBP last year, with 15 home runs and 63 RBI’s in over 600 plate appearances. He doesnt steal bases anymore. So, great center fielder. How about 10 home runs, 50 RBI’s and 5 stolen bases. No thanks.

    • MattyMets
      December 23, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Before we attribute Jones’ down 2018 season to age-related decline, there is another factor. The team was being dismantled around him. That’s a double whammy of mental distraction and reduced lineup protection.

  10. December 23, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I used to be a huge fan of Adam Jones, but unfortunately he is not the answer to a team looking for a primarily starting out fielder that talks of championships. He may be a great clubhouse presence and while I agree to some degree with Matty’s comments about a very good player not being able to excel in an an environment like Baltimore’s last year – I see that to be more relevant on the offensive side. His defensive metrics are not good. Pass at this point.

    Unfortunately, there are no really good answers for the outfield. Harper would be dynamic, but I am not on the side of massive contracts like that for one player. (Altho, I think perhaps an Arenado or Trout might be the exception in the future).

    So.. what to do about 2019? I think wait out Pollack to see if he comes down to a reasonable ask.

    One other name out there that intrigues me with what could be a low-risk, high reward type is Avisail Garcia. His 2017 numbers were insane – his 2018 numbers awful, and he just had some knee surgery to clean-up issues he had all year. And he is still pretty young. Not a centerfielder, but if last year was an injury plaged year, he was a former top prospect the actually put it together – can he do that again?? Conforto in Left, Nimmo in Center, a healthy Garcia (if he is) in Right . . I’d go with that.

    • December 23, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Garcia’s year-by-year fWAR numbers since becoming a full-time guy in 2015: (-0.3), 0.4, 4.2, 0.0

      So, what happened in 2017? A .392 BABIP and a drop in K-rate. And that strikeout rate went right back to where it was before 2017. Hey, sometimes all the planets align and that happened for Garcia in 2017. Bully for him but unless he’s willing to sign an NRI, no thanks.

  11. Steve S.
    December 23, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Adam Jones is not a good fielder, even if not put into CF. His UZR stats, for example, last year put him at the bottom of the AL’s OFers. His dWar was -2.3 last year, as well.

    His batting is just average (OPS+ of 102).

    Look elsewhere please!

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