Last week, reports broke out of Venezuela that OF Adam Jones (73/85) had been pulled out of the lineup because a trade for SP Erik Bedard (96/94) was close. The rumor subsided when Jones returned to the lineup. Tonight, word broke again that Jones had been pulled from the lineup. However, this time is much, much different. According to reports, Jones received a call from Bavasi Saturday night telling him that he was the centerpiece of a deal for Bedard, and that he needed to go to Baltimore for a physical. Additionally, the Mariners have confirmed that Jones is finished in Venezuela, but would say no more. Still, considering Jones was hitting third in the lineup for a team in the midst of the Venezuelan championship series, it seems obvious that only something as major as a trade would make the Mariners suddenly rip him out of the lineup for good.
Of course, both sides said a final agreement has not been reached as of tonight, though Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail according to one report also said Jones was not coming to Baltimore for a physical. Furthermore, it is rather certain the deal will include as many as three more players going from the Mariners to the Orioles, and speculation is rampant on who those others could be. Interestingly, one player commonly brought up in the trade, RP George Sherrill (86/83), says he has not been contacted by anyone to this point.
Right now, I am not sure if the deal is actually done or not. Listening to Bavasi last week, it was clear he had laid out his final offer to the Orioles, and that he was also fairly confident the Orioles would agree to it. I think their GM clearly has at this point, but owner Peter Angelos must sign off on it. With most owners, this step can be dismissed, but not with Angelos. He is notorious for striking down deals, and considering a prospect is at the center of what they will receive, it is no given that he will give a final thumbs up. Still, he did approve the Tejada trade earlier this offseason, so between that and the Orioles apparent interest in acquiring a black star, the odds seem to be that he will approve this deal. That is, if he has not already.
The second key to this deal, from a baseball standpoint, is how much more beyond Jones the M's have to give up. My gut tells me SP Chris Tillman (46/78) will also be in the deal, and that C Jeff Clement (70/78) will not be. Tillman makes sense because I do not see the M's including Jones and SP Brandon Morrow (75/81), so Tillman is in effect a substitute for Morrow. As for Clement, I think he has more value to the Mariners than the Orioles since Baltimore just drafted a power-hitting catcher with their first pick this year, Matt Wieters. However, any additional pieces in the trade I have no idea about, though the report about Sherrill makes me believe he will not be a part of it (though I am not sold that he is not in it). I will write more about the trade once there are more details.