Catching Up With Adam Jones

I had a chance to visit with former Rainiers outfielder Adam Jones on Wednesday at Safeco Field.

We talked for a while and I recorded an interview with him – it’s been posted on the Rainiers website, you can hear it right here.

A few hours and 11 innings after the interview, Jones cracked his 30th home run of the year to give his Baltimore Orioles a 3-1 victory over the Mariners. It was yet another extra-innings win for Baltimore, who is in the stretch run of a drive to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Adam played in Tacoma in 2006 and 2007.

In 2006 – his first Triple-A season – Jones hit .287 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. He made the PCL All-Star team and represented the Rainiers in the Triple-A All-Star Game Toledo, Ohio before getting his first call-up to the majors. He was only 20 years old that season.

Jones returned to Tacoma in 2007 and damaged the Pacific Coast League to the tune of a .314 average with 25 homers and 84 RBI in just 101 games. He had a .967 OPS for Tacoma as a 21-year-old.

After we recorded the interview, he told me that was the biggest learning year of his career. He quite bluntly said, “When I was 20, I was dumb. I became a lot smarter at 21.”

The Mariners traded Jones – their top prospect – to the Orioles after the 2007 season in a package for starting pitcher Erik Bedard. The Mariners had just won 88 games and they thought the addition of Bedard would push them to the top of the standings.

At the time of the trade, it was a controversial deal and a hot topic for talk radio and baseball analysts. The Mariners traded their top prospect in an attempt to win now.

Personally, I leaned very slightly against the trade at the time. Like all Rainiers fans, I had seen Jones play for two seasons and I knew he was going to be a good major leaguer. But I understood that the Mariners saw a window to reach the playoffs, and you have to give up something good to get something good.

With the benefit of perfect hindsight, we now know that trade was a disaster.

In the interview, he talks about the trade and brings up an interesting comparison to Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson, who was traded at the exact same moment in his career, in a very similar deal.

Oh yeah, one other thing: after the interview, I asked Adam how his mom is doing. Many Rainiers fans remember her from Cheney Stadium for her gregarious personality. He said Andrea is doing great and is well-known in Baltimore, too.

The interview is six minutes, 43 seconds long. Here’s how it goes:

  • 0:00 to 1:00 – a  few general thoughts on the Orioles success this year.
  • 1:00 to  2:15 – getting traded to the Orioles and the opportunity that resulted from it.
  • 2:15 to 3:45 – on signing a long-term contract with the Orioles and suddenly becoming extremely wealthy.
  • 3:45 to 5:20: – on social media and interacting with fans on twitter (follow Adam @SimplyAJ10).
  • 5:20 to 6:43 – on teammates in Tacoma who helped him become a big leaguer.

“No problemo.” I hope you like it.

Links:

  • It looks like the PCL’s Tucson Padres will be moving to El Paso, TX for the 2014 season after some final hurdles were cleared. This will cause a realignment of the divisions after the 2013 season.
  • The News Tribune has an article on Michael Saunders and his successful season.
  • The Seattle Times has a feature on Justin Smoak and trying to overcome a rough season.
  • Ichiro has recently been on a tear for the Yankees.
  • Memphis Redbirds General Manager Ben Weiss won the PCL Executive Of The Year award.

Have a great weekend!

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