Duquette discusses ways to improve OF defense

Duquette discusses ways to improve OF defense

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones made headlines at FanFest in January when he called for better, more athletic personnel in the outfield. On Monday, O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Jones hadn't talked to him about his displeasure with the team's attempt to improving outfield defense, and he suggested that Jones could help by making his own adjustments.

"I noticed Doug Glanville recommended Adam could play a little bit deeper in one of his columns, shortly after that, to improve the Orioles' outfield defense," Duquette said. "I don't know if Adam saw that column or not. Doug Glanville is a former center fielder who takes a really close look at the metrics of players, right? And he studies them as an analyst for ESPN, and he thought it was important enough to write an entire column on how the Oriole outfield defense could start to improve as soon as Adam moved back 10 feet.

"I thought that was a pretty interesting comment from a pretty learned spectator, particularly a center fielder. He was a center fielder who went to the University of Pennsylvania, who follows a lot of our ballgames."

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Orioles manager Buck Showalter said what Glanville proposed is nothing new for the organization, and that those things come up often in staff meetings and with outfield coach Wayne Kirby and the club's own analytics team.

"Adam's very approachable about that stuff. But I also can show you a bunch of balls that he catches in front of him that no other center fielder does," Showalter said. "The analytics is that balls over your head are doubles and triples, and balls in front of you are singles. I got the math of it. But there's an add and subtract to that, too. Adam's approachable. He's also one of the better center fielders in the game. He does a lot of things for us that other people can't do. Also, the arm comes into play a lot more when he's a little shallower. There's a lot of ways to look at it."

Jones, a multiple All-Star and Gold Glove winner, said at FanFest that the club's additions -- including a pair of Rule 5 picks and Seth Smith, as well as retaining Mark Trumbo -- haven't been enough to warrant upgrades in the corner spots.

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When told that Duquette felt like the team could improve by using better metrics and working with their current roster, Jones disagreed.

"I don't necessarily buy that idea," Jones said last month. "Sometimes, athletic personnel does help. You can play where you want, but if you don't have the guys to get to a certain spot, it doesn't matter. It's basically saying you can plug anything in an equation and get an answer. Me and you can play in the exact same spot and our reaction would be different. That goes for anyone around baseball. I would say just get more athletic guys, not saying that Trumbo and Seth Smith aren't athletic. They're very good athletes, but they're not top-of-the-line defensive players first."

Showalter said Jones' positioning, often a result of helping the players he was around last year, will be discussed again this spring. Jones is expected to start in center field for Team USA at next month's World Baseball Classic.

"I want to get his input, his feelings about it and the respect I have for him, and we'll see if there's a way we can improve at every place," Showalter said. "But [Glanville is] not saying anything that we haven't talked about in detail since I've been here for five years.

"I had Doug. He played real shallow," Showalter said.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.