In one of the worst kept secrets in the league, yesterday morning the Orioles officially announced that they had signed Adam Jones to the richest contract in team history. Local and national analysts have some opinions on the six year $85 million deal:
Dave Cameron, Fangraphs: "For the Orioles, getting Jones at this price is a slam dunk. Given what he’s already accomplished in the first several months of the season, Jones was going to get a significant raise in arbitration from the $6 million he’s making this year, likely putting him in line for a $10 or $11 million salary in 2013. Given that the Orioles clearly weren’t going to non-tender Jones under any scenario, we can essentially assume that part of the deal was already predetermined to a large extent, so the Orioles are essentially adding five years and $75 million or so onto their existing commitment."
Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot: "Simply put, I think the Orioles are going to get even value for Jones, maybe a little more..."
Daniel Moroz, Camden Crazies: "There's going to be the usual risks associated with all long-term deals, but I think the Orioles did a nice job locking in a decent floor with some real upside; let's say Jones regresses and ends this year at only 5.5 wins, and declines by a half-win starting next year - that's around $30 in excess value the O's would be getting."
R.J. Anderson, Baseball Prospectus: "Dan Duquette didn’t let the market dictate his price. And, if he read Jones’ improvements and the market correctly, he might have saved some money by acting now rather than later."
Keith Law, ESPN: "Looks like buying high..."
Most commentary on the deal seems, on balance, positive. Law is not totally negative, though he had posted a tweet on Friday showing an Adam Jones slash line from that date in 2009 and it was, in fact, eerily similar to 2012. The deal contains escalators that could bump up the value to $91.5 million and contains no trade protection.