By signing five-time All-Star Adam Jones, the Washington Nationals would create a quality platoon with Adam Eaton while adding an ideal mentor for Victor Robles.
Few Washington Nationals fans want to ponder Bryce Harper signing elsewhere, especially if he heads north to an NL East rival. If that nightmare scenario occurs, however, a stellar replacement is waiting just up I-95 in Baltimore: longtime Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.
A five-time All-Star being available this close to Spring Training is another troubling sign of baseball’s need to revamp free agency. Yet if Harper leaves and the Washington Nationals are able to find a suitor for Michael Taylor, Jones makes all the sense in the world for a team with two young outfielders and another who’s battled recent injuries.
Jones posted his lowest power numbers last year while struggling at times in center field, but still hit .281 in 2018 and .285 the year before. In Washington, Jones could split time with Adam Eaton in right field while starting over Victor Robles in center against tough right-handed starters like Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola and Mike Foltynewicz.
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Most importantly, the respected, popular veteran is an ideal mentor for Robles and Juan Soto as they hopefully blossom into perennial MVP candidates, as Jones himself once was. For Robles especially, the combination of playing beside Jones against left-handed starters and watching him from the dugout against top righties could prove crucial in his development.
Jones recently bought Cal Ripken Jr.’s estate in Timonium and has been nominated for MLB’s prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work in and around Baltimore. Signing with the Nationals would enable Jones to stay close to home and continue his admirable community service initiatives.
The biggest questions are whether Jones would play for an Orioles rival and accept a role that wouldn’t be full-time if Robles progresses as the Nationals expect. With less than two weeks until most position players report to camp, however, spending the 2019 season playing for a playoff contender in familiar territory might be Jones’ best option.
Though it may not be a fit that many think of at first, Adam Jones makes a lot of sense for the Washington Nationals. His influence off the field would make him a huge addition for this team.