The Reds have released right-handed reliever Nate Jones, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com was among those to report. The Reds previously designated Jones for assignment on Tuesday.
Jones, a native of nearby Kentucky, joined the Reds on a minor league contract in the offseason and wound up throwing 18 2/3 innings out of their bullpen this year. While the 34-year-old managed excellent strikeout and walk rates (11.09 K/9, 2.89 BB/9), averaged just under 96 mph on his fastball and posted a personal-best 15.3 percent swinging-strike rate, he was nonetheless victimized for a 6.27 ERA/5.49 FIP. A career-worst .400 batting average on balls in play helped cause Jones’ issues, though it’s worth noting he had a miserable 2020 from a Statcast perspective, including ranking in the league’s bottom one percentile in average exit velocity against.
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago Jones a key part of the White Sox’s bullpen. At his best, he tossed 70 2/3 innings of 2.29 ERA/2.93 FIP ball with 10.19 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9 in 2016, but a series of injuries have helped derail him since then. Jones, in fact, has only combined for a matching 70 2/3 frames over four seasons since his career campaign.
There is a lot to like about Jones’ performance this year. While I expect a minors deal next year, I wouldn’t be upset if my team signed him.
But I also wouldn’t expect too much from him given his history.
He will get picked up somewhere for 2021. Would make a nice minors option for Spring training with the Mets