UPDATE (4:47 p.m.): I just spoke to Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly, who confirmed Jones has been called back to the U.S. Hevly said he could not comment further, which more or less tells us Jones is about to be dealt because major league clubs do not stiff winter league teams as badly as Seattle just did without a darned good reason. If Jones was hurt, the M’s would say so. Anyway, Jones himself is saying what the M’s won’t. The winter league team’s manager, none other than Luis Sojo, has also confirmed Jones is off to Baltimore for a physical.
Adam Jones has left his Venezuelan Winter League team and flies to Baltimore tomorrow morning to take a physical so he can be dealt to the Orioles in exchange for pitcher Erik Berdard. No word yet on how many players going Baltimore’s way.
Jones did not mince words when he spoke to a reporter from Diario Panorama in Venezuela today. We have a relationship with the reporter and paper and they have graciously supplied us with quotes from the interview with Jones.
“I received a call from Seattle saying that is no more playing for me and I can’t do anything about that,” Jones said. “I leave tomorrow morning…It sucks. I want to play. This is Game 4 of the finals and I really want to be there for my team, but it’s something that all the guys understand. I really want to play, but I can’t.”
On the actual deal itself: “(Bill Bavasi) called me yesterday and told me the news. I’ve got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I’m the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It’s an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is. He’s one of the best. Last year he finished up as arguably one of the top candidates for the Cy Young. He’s that good, so for me it’s an honor. You know, I like Seattle, but if I am in Baltimore, as I think now I am, I’m going to embrace it and have the best time of my life in Major League Baseball.”
I spoke to relief pitcher George Sherrill moments ago, and he insisted he had not heard from anyone that he had been included in a deal.
Sherrill took a routine exit physical after the season was over and recently had his contract extended by the Mariners without taking another one.
“I hope if I am part of it that somebody tells me before Wednesday because that’s when we’re supposed to head down to Phoenix,” Sherrill said of his departure for spring training. “I spoke to John (McLaren) recently and I let him know that I want to be a Mariner for life. It’s the team that plucked me out of the independent league and so I’ll always have a spot in my heart for it and want to stay with the organization. But I know that rarely happens anymore.”
That’s all for now. We’ll get you more details as they unfold. But I wanted to get this out to you ASAP. I’d expect a news conference of some sort by Tuesday, given the timetable of the Jones physical.