Should White Sox Deal Nate Jones In Massive Firesale?
Would it make sense for White Sox to deal veteran right hand reliever in a massive fire sale? The relief pitcher impressed during his World Baseball Classic run for Team USA.
As we all know, the Chicago White Sox are undergoing a massive rebuild. Considering that, would it make sense to deal away nearly every asset possible to acquire as many young assets they can? Here is a name to throw out there that has not been bandied about much publicly in trade talks: Nate Jones. With the game becoming centered around bullpens , would he bring back a better return than some realize?
Let’s begin by summarizing Jones career up to this point. He burst onto the scene in 2012, where he went 8-0, topped by a 2.39 ERA and 2.6 WAR. To put his WAR perspective, an elite reliever will post 2.5 in that category. Since Jones surpassed that number, it shows he has the ability to produce at an All-Star level in one metric.
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Here is where things get a bit tricky in regards to Jones. The following season (2013) he regressed some, as his ERA nearly doubled (2.39 to 4.15), not to mention suffered five losses in a horrific year for the South Siders. To worsen the load, he hardly pitched at all in 2014 due to back and Tommy John surgery.
Jones didn’t return until mid-season of 2015, however he posted a solid 3.32 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in a mere 19 innings. Come 2016, all of his hours rehabilitating paid off. He came through with a 2.29 ERA, not to mention a 2.3 WAR and 28 holds, indicating his involvement in countless late-game situations.
Well, what does this all mean? Just by looking at Jones repertoire, he has the ability to dominate elite hitters late in games. Anytime a pitcher can touch triple digits, not to mention has a nasty slider, he is extremely valuable to a bullpen. Given much of this is predicated on command, which Jones has shown to have a good amount of in his time at the big league level.
However, the fact he has undergone two major operations in his career would be a concern for any team seeking to acquire him. Anything concerning the back is a major red flag, not to mention topped by an arm injury some clubs might shy away from giving up a good prospect for Jones.
The number one thing to keep in mind with Jones is he relies on power. When he is at his best, he regularly fans hitters, which can be seen by his 261 strikeouts in 239.1 career innings pitched. If that were ever taken from him, it is unclear if he could ever regain the dominance he currently possesses.
All in all, it makes perfect sense to deal Jones sometime in the near future. While it may not happen until mid-season, teams love to add talent to the bullpen for the stretch run. Jones is a very good relief pitcher, and considering what some arms bring back on the trade market, there is no reason to think he couldn’t fetch the Sox some talented young players.
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Keep in mind that if the team is going to rebuild, there is no need for a closer Sox fans. Which is exactly what Jones would do if David Robertson is shipped out as well.