Many of you have started wringing your hands over this item in the Baltimore Sun, written after our blog post, saying that an Erik Bedard-Adam Jones deal had not been finalized. Well, yes, we know that. If it was finalized, then Jones would not be flying back to the United States to take a physical.
Sorry, I’m not trying to sound flippant here. But when you’ve got the Orioles and Mariners, two of the most media-shy teams in baseball, trying to make a trade, any leak is bound to be greeted as an event of earthquake proportions. Let’s all settle down and just look at the facts as calmly as we can, please.
1. Adam Jones himself, the rumored centerpiece of the deal, told the reporter in Venezuela that he was leaving in the middle of the winter league championship round so he could fly to Baltimore for a physical. Why would Jones make that up? Jones says he was told by Mariners GM Bill Bavasi that he was the centerpiece of the Bedard trade. Again, why make that up?
2. Orioles president Andy MacPhail, who prides himself on keeping even the day of the week a secret from anyone he can, can’t be thrilled that Jones let the cat out of the proverbial bag. So, did MacPhail say a deal is not going to happen? No, he told the Baltimore Sun: “We do not have an agreement with the Mariners.” Now, that could mean a million things. Like I said, if there’s a physical involved, the deal won’t be done until Jones passes it. Perhaps, since Jones has the furthest to travel, the M’s are just getting him back to the U.S. and keeping him on standby until the physical is to be taken. That’s why MacPhail insisting there won’t be a physical in Baltimore on Monday is not something to pay too much heed to. Will it be in Baltimore on Tuesday after Jones arrives there and gets a good night’s sleep? If so, MacPhail’s quotes from today will still ring true, so he’s covered himself.
Look, the M’s sources I’ve spoken to today have also said the deal is not yet done. But it’s close. So close that the team has not only pulled Jones out of Venezuela smack dab in the middle of the country’s championship series, but is flying him back to the U.S. You don’t just do that unless a deal is very close to getting done. The last time, the team simply had Jones hang out in Venezuela for a bit before clearing him to start playing again once a deal fell through. Not now.
We spoke to Geroge Sherrill and to Bedard’s agent and neither has been contacted yet. So what? Jones only arrives in the U.S. tomorrow. Both Sherrill and Bedard are already in the country. All it takes is a phone call tomorrow, or Tuesday, to alert them.
Things to watch out for? Only one. Orioles owner Peter Angelos is notorious for scuttling even the best laid of plans at the last minute. I’m sure he can’t be thrilled that Jones told the world he’s about to be traded for Bedard. Would Angelos be upset enough over that to pull the plug on a deal? Some people actually think it’s possible. I say that’s crazy. You either like a deal, or you don’t. If you’re going to conduct business like that, using borderline rational behavior to guide you, then your team might as well forget about ever contending again. We’ve been told that after 10 years of watching the O’s slide into irrelevance, the franchise is now changing its ways and that Angelos will allow his baseball people to do their jobs. We’ll see.
Some of you are asking why you can’t find the quotes from Jones after scouring the internet looking for the original source in Venezuela. That one’s simple. I told you, we had a relationship with the newspaper, Diario Panorama, and its reporter. He was generous enough to provide us with all the quotes, because he realizes how big the news is for fans back here in Seattle.
In other words, we had it out in public before his newspaper had a chance to publish the story for tomorrow’s editions. That’s why you can’t find it. I told you we try to get you stuff fast here. Keep this in mind if you don’t see an official announcement on a trade until late Tuesday, or even Wednesday. We got this stuff out, from news that travelled across two continents, much more quickly than the M’s or Orioles ever expected it might leak. Larry Stone did some wonderful work on this today as well. We really did try to let you know what was going on. I’m sorry we can’t deliver it to you signed, sealed and wrapped up in a bow. Get on the horn to Bavasi and MacPhail (or Angelos) about that one.
We’ve spoken with the reporter by email down there within the past hour and he’s been reading the internet and is upset that some seem to be calling the Jones quotes he took into question. He says he never even asked Jones about the Orioles — only about why he was leaving the team — and that it was Jones who went off on the long monologue about the trade, completely unsollicited. He offered to play us the tape recordings he took over the phone, since he is staying in a hotel for the championship series and has left his MP3 player at home. We’re not going to bother. We trust him.
The direct quote from the Venezuelan team’s manager, none other than Luis Sojo, about the possibility of a Jones trade to Baltimore, was: “When you’re going to take a physical, something is going to happen almost always.”
Perhaps I was premature in suggesting an announcement could be made later tomorrow. It takes a while to fly back from Venezuela and Jones only says he’s leaving tomorrow morning. Not sure what flight he’s on, but there’s probably a connection or two involved and it wouldn’t get him to Baltimore until at least the middle of the afternoon. Is there even time to rest up and take a physical? Who knows?
So, let’s all take a deep breath and chill.
Normally, I’d be skeptical about going so hard on a story like we did today. After all, there is a point where too much speculation doesn’t help anyone. But read the quotes by Jones. There is very little ambiguity there. Somebody told him something and he went into it in great detail. Am I going to put more stock into that, or a somewhat ambiguous denial from a GM who could technically be telling the truth while looking like he’s giving the strongest possible denial? I’ll go with Jones. He has no reason to fudge the truth.
Stay tuned. Looks like this soap opera is finally about to end.
UPDATE (9:48 P.M.): For helpfelix in the comments thread, thanks for the airline info. So, assuming Jones arrives on time, gets through customs in an hour (remember, it’s a flight from South America), gets his bags in a timely fashion and cabs it (20 minutes in normal conditions) to Baltimore from BWI Airport, that gets him to downtown in Monday rush hour traffic at what, 4:30 p.m. if he’s lucky? Maybe 5 p.m.? Do you think they make him take a physical at that point after waking up at 4 a.m. for his flight? Not very likely.