The Royals are releasing outfielder JaCoby Jones from his minor league contract, reports Anne Rogers of MLB.com (Twitter link). The 30-year-old had been with their top affiliate in Omaha after signing a non-roster deal over the offseason.
Jones struggled at the dish over his stint with the Storm Chasers. He suited up in 38 games but hit only .214/.270/.357 with four home runs through 137 trips to the plate. Perhaps even more concerning than the slash line is that he struck out in just over 40% of his plate appearances while only drawing a walk 6.6% of the time. Kansas City added former Phillies outfielder Roman Quinn to the organization on a minors pact last week, and it seems he’ll step in as a center field-capable depth option in Omaha.
While Jones didn’t reach the big leagues with the Royals, he suited up with the division-rival Tigers in each season from 2016-21. A former third-round draftee of the Pirates, the LSU product was Detroit’s primary center fielder for a few seasons. He flashed some power potential and rated well defensively at times, but he posted a higher than average strikeout percentage in every year of his career. Detroit began to curtail his playing time in recent years and eventually outrighted him off their 40-man roster last June.
Jones heads back to free agency in search of a new opportunity. He’ll certainly again be limited to minor league offers after his rough stretch in Omaha, but it seems likely he’ll catch on somewhere as a depth option based on his raw power and athleticism.