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Reds add Jones to 'pen mix on Minors deal

@m_sheldon
January 15, 2020

CINCINNATI -- The Reds found some potential bullpen help in their own backyard on Wednesday, completing a Minor League contract with right-handed reliever Nate Jones. It came with an invitation to big league camp at Spring Training. If Jones makes the team, he can earn a base salary of $1.5

CINCINNATI -- The Reds found some potential bullpen help in their own backyard on Wednesday, completing a Minor League contract with right-handed reliever Nate Jones. It came with an invitation to big league camp at Spring Training.

If Jones makes the team, he can earn a base salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1 million possible in incentive bonuses.

Jones, 34, was born in Covington, Ky., which is across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, and he currently lives in nearby Falmouth, Ky. He played college baseball at Northern Kentucky University.

Should he make the team and stay healthy, Jones could be a solid addition to a bullpen that’s currently locked in with Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen and Robert Stephenson.

Over 284 career games in the Major Leagues with the White Sox from 2012-19, Jones is 22-13 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. His 318 strikeouts in that span led all White Sox relievers. But he only appeared in 13 games last season and posted a 3.48 ERA and a career-worst 1.65 WHIP.

Chicago traded Jones and international bonus slot money to the Rangers on July 31 for two Minor Leaguers. He never pitched for Texas, however, while on the 60-day disabled list after right forearm surgery. The Rangers declined his $3.75 million option for 2020.

Other injuries on Jones’ resume include a left hip muscle strain that cost him most of 2014, right elbow surgery in 2015 and right elbow neuritis that sidelined him for most of 2017.

Jones joins Tyler Thornburg, Brooks Raley and R.J. Alaniz as non-roster invitees who will be vying for the open spots in Cincinnati’s bullpen. Among those on the 40-man roster who will be in the competition are Lucas Sims, Sal Romano, Cody Reed, José De Leon and Matt Bowman.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.