Jones has yet to play in the major tournaments this season, as he started the year in IL with a lower back injury. This put him out of action for a few months, but he began a minor league rehab job on June 3. Players in the center are allotted up to 20 days into the rehab period, so it’s time to get the Astros back on track. He has struggled over 14 rehab games with Sugar Land, and the club will keep him with the Space Cowboys on an elective assignment.
The 28-year-old Jones saw some big league action in Houston during the 2020-21 seasons. He scored 130 board appearances at the highest level, compiling a .236/.262/.398 streak with three home runs. The Gonzaga product has a more impressive .279/.373/.487 mark across parts of Triple-A’s four seasons. Assuming he spends more than 20 days on an optional assignment this season, he’ll exhaust his last option year.
James deals with the strain at the right length. He hasn’t played for eight days and will now be ruled out for at least another two months. The right-hander stormed into the major leagues late in the 2018 season, impressing with a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings while averaging over 97 mph on his Fastball. He hit 37.6% of opponents on a career height of 61 1/3 frames the following year, but he paired those swaying and misses with home run problems and wobbly control on his way to a 4.70 ERA.
Problems with his left hip cost much of the 2020-21 seasons, and he has struggled during his limited looks on the hill. He spent the entire 2022 campaign with Sugar Land, spreading 7.59 ERAs through 21 1/3 rounds. His strike rate has dropped to 20.6% on minors, while he’s marching on nearly 16% of opponents. He won’t be back until mid-August at the earliest, and his time in the organization will likely be about to expire.
James is earning $800,000 this season after avoiding refereeing over the winter. Although he’ll accumulate service time during his stint at IL, he’s already spent enough time in the palace that he won’t beat an extra four years of service this season. In theory, he can be controlled until 2025, although he is likely to be a less advanced candidate next season given his small league performances and renewed injury fears.