February 2, 2023

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Adam Jones hints at hanging up cleats for good

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If it is indeed the end, Adam Jones announced it in the only way fitting.

In a first-person article for the Players’ Tribune, Jones — a former All-Star, Gold Glover, Silver Slugger, 11-year Oriole and 14-year Major Leaguer — let his personality shine as he hinted that his playing days are likely over.

Jones’ essay opened with a story around a pinch-hit, game-winning homer he hit for the Orix Buffaloes in Game 5 of the 2021 Japan Series. Though Orix would come up short for the title, Jones, now 36, was touched that his wife, Audie, and two sons were at his side, waiting to celebrate with him at the end of the dugout after he was done doing the same with his teammates.

“I’d love to keep playing. I really would. But if my time has indeed come to an end, and that last blast against Yakult is indeed my swan song, you know what … I’m good with that,” Jones wrote. “Baseball has given so much to me over the years. It’s taken me to so many places, allowed me to see and experience more than I could’ve ever imagined. So hitting a homer in a huge situation in the Japan Series really could be the perfect sendoff for someone like me.”

Should Jones hang up his cleats, he will do so with a stellar resume. A central component of the Orioles’ three postseason appearances in the mid-2010s, Jones was the heartbeat of the clubhouse, not just for his play in center field but for his affable personality and efforts in the community.

On the field, Jones was a dynamic player, a recipient of five All-Star nods, four Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger and three seasons featuring down-ballot MVP votes between 2009-15, including one sixth-place finish in ’12. In the ’09 campaign, when he was awarded his first All-Star appearance and Gold Glove, Jones was just 23 — two years removed from one of the most impactful trades in franchise history, when Baltimore acquired him, Chris Tillman and others from Seattle in exchange for Erik Bedard.

That transaction merely welcomed in one of the most recognizable faces associated with the franchise this century.

All told, Jones hit .279/.319/.459 in Baltimore with 263 home runs thanks to seven 20-homer seasons. Among the franchise’s stars who were primarily center fielders, he is the leader in games, hits, homers and RBIs. And across 1,823 games in his Major League career, inclusive of his start in Seattle and one season in Arizona in ’19, Jones hit .277/.317/.454 with 282 long balls.

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