Outfielder Adam Jones felt the something like frustration this offseason when the calls seeking his services didn’t come en masse.
As a 14-year MLB veteran who spent the last 11 years with the Baltimore Orioles, the 33-year-old already secured the bag. He wasn’t seeking outlandish cash even though he remained reliable.
Jones played at least 119 games in every one of those last 11 seasons with the O’s and last year hit .281 with 63 RBIs, 35 doubles and 15 home runs.
But while he remained patient working out in Arizona before the Diamondbacks came calling, leading to a one-year deal, it only confirmed to him that something’s not right with baseball. Jones doesn’t like the climate.
“Players always have a chip on their shoulder,” Jones told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I’ve had some really good mentors in my career where they’ve always been able to talk to me in a manner to where I would understand it and be able to diffuse a lot of situations, to be able to diffuse frustration. So I’ve been able to handle this kind of stuff well. But at the same time, I want to put myself in a good position for 2020. I want to continue to play.
“The thing about baseball, is they’re taking the game away from guys who want to play. I want to play more than just this year.”
Baseball’s free agency was certainly a slog, and that’s beyond aging veterans.
Manny Machado didn’t sign with the San Diego Padres until late February. Bryce Harper finally inked with the Philadelphia Phillies less than a week later.
To some degree, that didn’t even create a domino effect of signings; free agents the next tier down from Machado and Harper had already signed. But players past their prime ended up being left out as the money, or the desire to spend, dried up.
“I could have tweeted and screamed and cussed all offseason but that wouldn’t have done me no good,” Jones said on Thursday. “I just kept my focus, kept my faith that somebody would give me and opportunity. The D-backs did. What sucks is that there’s a lot of my friends … a lot of the guys in the game that are valuable to a major-league team.
“You mean to tell me Dallas Keuchel can’t help you? You mean to tell me Craig Kimbrel can’t help you?”
Teams have approached money differently as analytics from the financial side have changed how the dollars are doled out. Jones said older players aren’t receiving the same deals they once were — even if they remain productive.
“Ten years ago, the guys 33, 35, you still were getting three-, four-year deals,” he said. “The game has changed and I completely understand that. I just think the new culture of baseball, you have to adapt to it.
“Guys just want to play. I see (D-backs pitcher Zack) Greinke walking around here all the time and he’s making a boatload of money and he could care less because he wants to compete,” Jones added. “The money is great — don’t get me wrong. But we want to play. We love to play. When you take that away from us, some players get bitter about it and … that’s not good for the game, that’s not good for the next generation of the game.”