The Royals announced today they have signed outfielder JaCoby Jones to a minor league deal, and have re-signed reliever Richard Lovelady to a minor league deal. Lovelady was non-tendered on Tuesday to remove him from the 40-man roster as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Jones spent parts of six seasons with the Tigers, hitting .212/.275/.371 with 32 home runs in 352 games. The right-handed bat was originally a third-round pick out of LSU by the Pirates and was traded to the Tigers for reliever Joakim Soria. He showed good power in the minors, but a high strikeout rate that has carried over to the big leagues.
Jones showed flashes of promise in 2019 and 2020, hitting a league-average OPS+ with a line of .243/.316/.451 and 16 home runs in 118 games in those two seasons combined. But he was plagued with injuries in 2019 - shoulder injury from hitting the wall on a catch, a lower back strain, and a fractured wrist on a hit-by-pitch ended his season. His season again came to an early end in 2020 on an errant pitch that injured his hand.
The 30-year old struggled in 2021, hitting just .170/.210/.250 with a 40 percent strikeout rate in 36 games. The Tigers demoted him, and after the season he refused an outright assignment and became a free agent. He is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and even has some experience in the minors as an infielder. Most likely he will serve as depth in the minors with a chance to make the team as a reserve outfielder.