01/19/11 11:02 PM EST
Jones unfazed by lack of long-term deal
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"Not that I know of, to be honest with you," said Jones in a phone interview from Atlanta, where he's filming a commercial for Nike. "If [the Orioles] came to the table [with a long-term offer], you will obviously listen to whatever they are talking about, because it's your career. And if they are trying to do something like that, well, it's not that I know of."
Jones, who calls Baltimore a "good place to play baseball," said the thought of the Orioles offering more than a one-year deal never really crossed his mind. Arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career, Jones agreed to a one-year salary of $3.25 million Monday night, avoiding exchanging figures with the club and a potentially contentious arbitration hearing.
"To me, I was thinking that I know I'm going to make more money than I made last year," Jones said of the $465,000 he made in 2010 when the team unilaterally renewed his contract after he barely missed Super Two status. "That was the only thought. I had no idea what [principal owner] Mr. [Peter] Angelos or [president of baseball operations Andy] MacPhail want to do with me personally long term.
"I think [arbitration] is an interesting part of baseball, because the team can do whatever they want to do. ... Right now, I'm under [the] team's control for three years, so they basically have the upper hand on what they want to do. If it comes to where I'm a free agent in three years and that's the scenario, you go with the scenario."
For now, Jones' focus remains on the field and in picking up where he left off at the end of 2010. Despite a slow start, the 25-year-old had a strong season, hitting .284 with 19 home runs and 69 RBIs in 149 games.
"The first two months last year, ugh, it was frustrating. But it turned around," Jones said. "The last three, four months of the season, I did me. I didn't try to do too much.
"I think the other guys [in the lineup], with the added protection of [Derrek] Lee, [J.J.] Hardy, [Mark] Reynolds, [Luke] Scott, I think it will take a lot of pressure off. Personally I put a lot of pressure on myself, and if there's any pressure [Nick] Markakis puts on himself, I don't know if there is, but it will take some off."
And Jones isn't the only one who believes the new additions are a step in the right direction. Count fellow Major Leaguers Torii Hunter, Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen as fans as well.
"They are all excited about our team," Jones said of the group, whom he's sharing the Nike spot with. "They're like, 'You guys have made some real good moves for the first time in a few years.'"
"Griffey Jr. and Hunter were letting me know how good of a teammate Lee is and how he's going to try -- well not try, he's going to change our team."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.