Seeing Red: Jones signs with Cincinnati
Like most kids who grew up around this area following baseball during the 90’s and early 00’s, Nate Jones marveled at the abilities of Cincinnati Reds standout players such as Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Ken Griffey Jr., and Adam Dunn.
As his own baseball journey unfolded, he never let go of the dream to possibly one day put on the uniform and represent the team he grew up rooting for.
That dream has now become a reality.
On Jan. 7, the veteran free agent reliever agreed to terms on a one-year minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training with the Cincinnati Reds.
The official announcement came on Jan. 14 after he had passed a physical conducted by the club’s medical staff. The opportunity to play at home for the soon-to-be 34 year old was something he says that he simply could not pass by.
“It’s not everyday that you get the opportunity to play for your hometown team while having the opportunity to stay at your home during the course of the season,” Jones explained.
“This is a dream come true,” he added.
While his pact with the Reds is not a guarantee, should he not make the big league roster he would begin the season at the teams Triple A affiliate in Louisville; Jones says he’s never been more motivated to prove that he can still be that shut down reliever who thrived during his early days with the Chicago White Sox. As he continues to rehab from surgery last May to repair a torn right flexor mass, he says he’s feeling very good today and his offseason workout routine has been nearly the same as past year’s.
According to Jones longtime agent, Joe Speed, the chance at a fresh start in a new location was something that he welcomed. When that opportunity to join the Reds was presented, it appeared to be the obvious destination of choice for everyone involved.
“My job is to advise Nate about all of the options that were available to him, and there were multiple. But the Reds presented a situation that could not only be a dream come true for him, but also his family and friends,” Speed said.
Should Jones return to top form and make the big league roster following the completion of Spring Training, which gets underway in Goodyear, AZ on Feb. 14, he’ll undoubtedly be accompanied at Great American Ballpark in downtown Cincinnati by his legion of hometown fans known as “Nate’s Nation” who are equally as excited about the potential that lies in this signing. The Reds front office has ramped up efforts to put a contending club on the field, and that aggressive effort also played a role in Jones decision.
“You look at the moves they’ve already made this offseason, and you can’t help but be impressed. They have a quality starting rotation and some excellent pitchers in the bullpen. Their pitching coach, Derek Johnson, is also very highly respected around the game. I also can’t help but to think of all the fans in Pendleton County who have followed and supported me throughout my career. I’m as motivated right now as I’ve ever been to get back to where I know I can be and make the team so everyone at home can have the chance to come watch us play on Opening Day” Jones explained.
Jones went onto say that he expects to begin throwing from flat ground soon which will transition to multiple bullpen sessions between now and when he and his family will make the trip to Arizona on Feb. 9