BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis, the Major League leader in home runs, is set to become a free agent, and Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said on Thursday that re-signing Davis should be the club's top priority.
"Obviously, I love playing with him. He plays a hell of a first base. He plays the game, he games up every day no matter what. I've grown to admire the way he goes about his business and, obviously, the production, that's just icing on the cake," Jones said of Davis, who entered Thursday with 45 homers and has eclipsed the 40-homer mark twice in the past three seasons. "Because I get to see the guy inside here. To me, I think he's probably the highest priority, but he's earned himself a right to go and hear all 29 other offers.
"Forty-five [homers] and [112 RBIs], that's video game numbers. He's earned his right to hear everybody out."
While addressing season-ticket holders earlier this season, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that bringing back Davis was tops on the club's list. Though with every home run the slugger hits, his free-agent stock goes up.
"The thing is, I'm not an accountant, I don't know what the books show. I just know when we have a lot of free agents that means money is coming off the books," Jones said of a club that could also lose Wei-Yin Chen, Matt Wieters, Darren O'Day and Gerardo Parra, among others. "I don't know if they have 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 million to spend. That's dependent on how you want to go at it. You can get a lot of players for that much money. It depends how much money you have. Like I said, I'm not an accountant, I'm trying to balance my own books. Just say if you're interested in guys and … you want to keep the fans interested and you want to keep the product on the field interested, you have to go out and spend some of the money."
The Orioles were criticized by some last winter for not re-singing Andrew Miller, Nelson Cruz or Nick Markakis, and the organization will again be faced with some pivotal decisions this offseason. Jones, who has made it clear he would like to voice his opinion to ownership, was mum on if he had anything specific in the works.
"You can't replace 40 [home runs]. That's been proven by this year's offense," Jones said. "You can't replace 40, no matter how you do it. [Davis] likes it here, but it's not about what you like when it comes to business. You have to make a tough decision. Markakis had to make a tough decision and do what's best for his family. Chris has got a family. He's got to do what's best for him and his family. Wieters has to do the same thing, O'Day has to do the same thing. These are guys who earned the right to become free agents."