At last year’s winter meetings, the Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly discussed first baseman Garrett Jones. The discussions never accelerated, and Jones stayed with the Pirates.
He had a disappointing year for them in 2013, and now has been designated for assignment.
Jones would have made $6 million in arbitration, and with Pittsburgh in a similar position to Baltimore, having to pay more for maturing players, they’ve decided to end his time there.
The Pirates will try to make some sort of deal for the 32-year-old Jones, who slumped to a .233 average with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs in 2013. The year before, Jones hit .274 with 27 home runs and 86 RBIs.
Jones is a left-handed hitter who doesn’t hit lefties well. In his career, he’s batted just .193 against them. He’s a .271 hitter facing righties. Last year, manager Clint Hurdle kept Jones away from left-handers. He was just 2-for-21 with 12 strikeouts. Those are Brian Matusz vs. David Ortiz-type numbers.
Perhaps Jones could be the Orioles’ left-handed hitting DH. First, they’d have to acquire him, and Pittsburgh is looking for help at first base and shortstop. Not much the Orioles are willing to give up there.
If there’s not a deal for Jones, the Pirates can put him on waivers, but every team with a worse record with the Orioles has an opportunity to claim him first.
Jones would be costlier than any of the recent acquisitions (Kelvim De La Cruz, Edgmer Escalona, Brad Brach, Cord Phelps), but he has a better resume, and on a one-year deal could be a nice add.
First, the Orioles will have to show interest, outbid another team or get lucky and hope that Jones goes unclaimed.