Could the Texas Rangers look to Adam Jones to improve center field output?
By Travis Koch
The Texas Rangers need to find a reliable center fielder. Why not try to sign 13-year veteran and five-time All-Star, Adam Jones?
Center field was a weakness for the Texas Rangers last season. They afforded Delino DeShields most of the reps, and while he was great defensively, he was absolutely dreadful offensively. DeShields provided so little at the plate that Texas had to go out of their way and move corner outfielder/first baseman/third baseman, Joey Gallo, to center.
By all accounts, Gallo did an excellent job in center field. But it’s not in the Rangers’ best interests to keep him there long-term. So, the team needs to find a new center fielder.
If they want to look to free agency, Adam Jones would be a very good option. The 13-year veteran is coming off a solid season with the Baltimore Orioles in which he slashed .281/.313/.419 with 163 hits and 35 doubles. He’s a 5-time All-Star, a 4-time Gold Glove winner and a one time Silver Slugger.
Sure, Adam Jones’ best years are probably behind him, but there is no doubt he is still a quality big leaguer. He’d be a productive, affordable option for the Texas Rangers to take care of an important need.
It’s difficult to predict what the market will look like for Jones. There doesn’t seem to be too many teams in need of a center fielder. A couple of California teams could show interest, perhaps the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. Adam Jones is from San Diego. It also wouldn’t be surprising if Baltimore tried to bring him back on a one or two-year contract.
The Rangers’ top two prospects are on their way. Both are outfielders, and one of them should take over center field by the 2020 season. Thus, the team only needs a one season solution in center. Maybe they could offer Adam Jones a one-year, $10 million contract?
Who knows if he would accept. Jones could be looking for a multi-year deal so he can finish up his career with whichever team. Or, he could be looking for a one-year deal, hoping for a good 2019 season to prompt a bigger contract next offseason.
The Texas Rangers can only concern themselves with what they can control. They certainly need to find a center field solution, whether they look internally (Scott Heineman, perhaps?) or externally. Texas can set a budget for Adam Jones. If he accepts their offer then that’s great; if not, they move onto the next best option.
Jones would be very reliable up the middle of the field. In addition, the Texas Rangers would add an experienced right-handed bat to a young, mostly left-handed lineup. Jones can take on a leadership role with the team as well.
It’s up to the front office as to how aggressively they want to pursue the veteran outfielder, if they want to pursue him at all. Frankly, the Rangers signing Adam Jones to a one-year contract makes a whole lot of sense.