The 2020 campaign looked to be a big one for Texas Rangers reliever James Jones. Now the left-hander will have to make his big league push next season.
The Texas Rangers added another name to the list of players who suffer freak injuries that impact their season. Just six years ago former starter Derek Holland made headlines after suffering a knee injury from reportedly tripping over his dog while on the stairs. Now, bullpen-hopeful James Jones looks to be out for the entirety of the 2020 season, whenever that happens, after tripping over one of his son’s toys and reportedly tearing the patella tendon in his right knee.
Jones’ story is one most fans can get behind and the 2020 season looked like a chance for the 31-year old to finally crack the Rangers’ bullpen. Originally an outfielder who made his big league debut for the Mariners in 2014, Jones was acquired by the Rangers after the 2015 season as a part of the deal that sent Leonys Martin to Seattle. Once in the system, Jones was converted into a pitcher with Texas looking forward to building on his mid-90’s fastball from the left side.
His time with Texas though has been up and down having to undergo Tommy John surgery in August of the 2016 season. He missed the entirety of the 2017 season with the surgery and recovery returning to action two years ago. In the 2018 season, Jones played at four different levels of the club’s minor league system eventually making it to Triple-A with the Round Rock Express.
Last year, Jones split time between the Texas Rangers’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Along the way he made 45 total appearances, all as a reliever, and was solid to the tune of a 2.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.156. He struck out 71 in 64 innings between both stops and allowed under a home run per nine innings.
Entering this season, Jones looked like a possible candidate to get bullpen opportunities at the big league level. The Texas Rangers’ relief corp was fairly crowded but was limited on lefties that would be locks for certain roles. A non-roster invite to Spring Training, there was a strong likelihood that we would see Jones in Arlington at some point this season. It’s an unfortunate turn that knocks him out for this season and puts off, at least for another season, an impressive personal story that would’ve gained a lot of fan support if he were to hit the Majors this year.