The Interview Vault: Beau Jones
July 31, 2007. A day that had as much importance in the recent success of the Texas Rangers as any other in the team’s history. On that afternoon, General Manager John Daniels swung a deadline deal with the Atlanta Braves that sent Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay over in exchange for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, right-hander Neftali Feliz and left-handers Matt Harrison and left-hander Beau Jones.
Andrus and Feliz are nearing household-name status after starring roles in the 2010 playoffs and near back-to-back Rookie of the Year awards (Andrus finished second behind Oakland’s Andrew Bailey in 2009, Feliz won it yesterday) and there’s no question they are two of the cornerstones of the franchise. Saltalamacchia caught in roughly 190 games for the Rangers and appeared to be their catcher of the future (he hit .243 with 19 HR and 81 RBI in his first three seasons), but a case of “Rube Baker syndrome”, a visit with a psychologist and just two more games with Texas in 2010, he was sent over to the Boston Red Sox. Harrison went 13-8 over 26 starts in the 2008-2009 seasons, but transitioned to a relief role in 2010 and was not included on the playoff roster.
So what happened to Jones, the ninth-best prospect in the Braves system in 2006 and a LumberKing in 2007?
As LumberKings fans may remember, Jones stepped into the rotation after the promotion of Omar Poveda in 2007 and went 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA in seven games, six starts. Clinton fans surely will recall his gutsy playoff performance in Game 2 of the West Division Quarterfinals against Cedar Rapids when, after rain forced the early exit of right-hander Kasey Kiker, Jones stepped in to deliver six innings of scoreless, one-hit relief as the Kings battled back for an 8-2 victory.
Since then, Jones has been under the radar in a Rangers’ system chock full of prospect arms. He had moderate success with double-A Frisco in 2008 and 2009, going a combined 5-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 47 relief appearances with the RoughRiders. He returned to the Texas League in 2010 and had his best season to date as a Ranger, going 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 34 games, mostly relief. The numbers look even better when you condense it to relief outings only, as his ERA drops to 1.90. Jones limited opponents to a .192 average (including a .122 average to right-handed hitters) and struck out 56 in 47 innings out of the pen.
The Metairie, Louisiana native looks bound for the new triple-A affiliate of the Rangers in Round Rock next year with the possibility of a Major League call-up. If the latter happens, it will prove to be a rarity in the world of deadline deals: a seven-player trade in which every player involved makes the Majors.
For today’s edition of “The Interview Vault”, I dug up my conversation with Jones following that Game 2 performance against the Kernels.
Listen Here: Beau Jones (2007 Playoffs).mp3