Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Rockies acquire speedy outfielder Greg Jones in trade with Tampa Bay

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies want to get faster and more athletic. They moved in that direction Thursday by acquiring switch-hitting prospect Greg Jones from Tampa Bay for left-handed pitching prospect Joe Rock.

Jones, 26, who played shortstop and center field in the Rays’ system, was selected in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2019 draft out of North Carolina-Wilmington. He’s flashed an ability to steal bases, swiping 114 bags in 133 attempts in his minor league career.

Jones, with two minor league options remaining, has a career .266/.349/.438 slash line in 270 games. He has yet to make his major league debut, but there is a chance he could make the Rockies’ 26-man roster on opening day. Or he could begin the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.

“He’s a multi-positional player, with dynamic speed, and has shown a little bit of power, so we’ll see,” manager Bud Black said. “Hopefully, with a change of scenery, he can come into his own as a weapon that can help us beat opponents. … Potentially, there’s some upside, (based on) what he’s shown in the minor leagues with Tampa Bay.”

Last season, Jones played 71 games between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, slashing .244/.318/.432 with 10 home runs, 35 RBIs and 24 steals in 28 attempts. He missed some playing time with a right hamstring strain. He tends to strike out, whiffing 109 times last season and 128 times in 2022.

To make room for Jones on the 40-man roster, Colorado designated outfielder Sam Hilliard for assignment. Rock, a second-round pick in 2021 out of Ohio University, pitched with Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque last year. He received an invitation to major league camp this spring.

Jones is expected to join the Rockies as soon as Friday to be evaluated in the final days of spring training. He’s had a solid camp, albeit in limited playing time, hitting .357 (5-for-14) with a home run, two RBIs and seven strikeouts in 10 games.

The Rockies hope Jones gives them game-day flexibility. He’s played mostly shortstop but has played 36 games in center field and would be able to cover ground in Coors Field’s wide-open spaces.

“He’s making strides with the bat, and you’re talking about an athlete with tools,” general manager Bill Schmidt said. “He brings a toolset that we don’t have currently in our organization. It’s impact speed. He’s primarily a shortstop, but we always (thought) he could play the outfield, too. (Tampa) moved him to center to showcase his athleticism.”

The Rockies are investigating ways to back up shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and center fielder Brenton Doyle. Whether the acquisition of Jones impacts the roster status of utility infielder Alan Trejo or fifth outfielder Bradley Zimmer remains to be seen.

Hilliard, who began the spring in the Orioles’ camp, was claimed by the Rockies off waivers on Feb. 28. If another club does not claim him, Hilliard has the right to opt for free agency or stay with the Rockies as Triple-A depth.

Want more Rockies news? Sign up for the Rockies Insider to get all our MLB analysis.

Popular Articles