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January 28, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Angelos strikes again

Just when you think it’s safe to tell your players they’re being traded, the Mariners have seen Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos step back into the fray to remind everyone who’s really running things. Today has been one of those days that reminds writers just how frustrating it can be to cover some of the comical personalities in this game. The latest from the Baltimore Sun is that an O’s club source confirmed Jones was supposed to be in Baltimore today for a physical, but that’s been scuttled.
You know what? This situation is now becoming a circus and Angelos is far from the only clown. Let’s look at what Adam Jones, who let the cat out of his equipment bag about the deal in Venezuela on Sunday, is now telling people, as per KOMO 1000 radio reporter Shannon Drayer’s blog.
“He says that he said nothing about being traded to the Venezuelan press,” Drayer writes, relaying details of an email conversation with Jones. “Something may have been lost in translation somewhere.”
Ah yes, if all else fails and you’ve dug yourself a gigantic hole, just cover it up by shoveling a bunch of manure into it and blaming the Spanish-speaking reporter from the South American country. Here’s the problem with Jones’s first attempt at a media coverup of what he told reporter Augusto Cardenas from Diario Panorama on Sunday. My first language is English and Cardenas, well, he happened to make an audio recording of the conversation with Jones.
I just had the tape played for me over the phone from Venezuela and, yes, Jones definitely said he was off to Baltimore this morning for a physical and that he’d been traded to the Orioles. Talked all about looking forward to meeting his new teammates in Florida this spring. So, nice try. But Jones should stick to baseball and leave the backpedaling to football players.

Anyhow, I don’t want to go off on Jones too much. He’s just a 22-year-old who probably feels terrible about what’s happened and been told to keep his mouth shut from now on. But I don’t like it when baseball players and management types try to pass off their mistakes on to the shoulders of reporters from other countries whose language skills make them an easy target.
But what to make of this gem in the Baltimore paper from Bill Bavasi? Where he tells the Sun that Jones was pulled from his winter league team because: “Adam Jones has met his goals so there was no point of leaving him in (winter ball). He’s been called back from the club and sent home.”
Hmmm….well, to me, I’d say the fact his team was three games into the championship round would be a “point” of letting Jones finish what he started. That is, if the team wants to keep its relationships with Venezuelan winter league clubs going. Teams will understand a player being pulled because of a pending trade or an injury. Not because they’ve “met goals” that Jones apparently wasn’t aware of when he told Cardenas how disappointed he was that he’d no longer be playing.
“The stuff that has been reported is very, very premature,” Bavasi told The Sun. “We’ve been searching for pitching on multiple fronts.”
Well, it’s only premature because Jones wasn’t let in on the secrecy pact. Other than that, the only pitching Bavasi was about to deal for — as per Jones — was Bedard.
But I feel for Bavasi. He still hopes to get a deal done and coming clean about what actually happened, that Jones was told he’d been dealt and was heading to Baltimore, won’t help his cause on that front. Angelos is tough enough to deal with already and embarassing him in public would not be a wise move for the M’s at this stage. And I suppose, when you think of it, Jones did technically meet his goals in Venezuela, so Bavasi isn’t spinning tales as tall as Jones is these days.
But the only reason Jones was pulled was because the M’s thought they had a deal all-but-done.
Enter Angelos, stage left.
Rounding out the quartet of laugh generators is, of course, new O’s president Andy MacPhail, who claims not to know much about anything these days. Here are his quotes in the Sun.
“At this point, I don’t know with certainty who told Adam what and when in Venezuela,” MacPhail said.
We could give him a hint, but I suspect he already has an idea.
“I wish I could tell what the future is holding, but I do not know,” MacPhail said.
Doesn’t seem to know much, does he? That might answer a few questions for some people trying to figure out why Angelos is once again mucking up another straightforward deal.
“Peter knows what I know and when I know it,” MacPhail said.
Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.
The real kicker? This deal isn’t dead. I’d expect it to get done in the next few days. Are the Mariners ticked? I’m sure they are. Are the secrecy-plagued Orioles hopping mad? You betcha. But they should straighten all that out with Jones. What I don’t like is that they called the credibility of Cardenas into question.
But he’s telling the truth. I’ve heard it, with my own two ears. I’ll stake my reputation on it.
If the plan now is to shoot the messanger, both teams will need a bigger gun.
Or, they can simply tell the truth.



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