2013 Generals outfielder James Jones received an unexpected phone call about 11:20 on Wednesday night from Mariners Farm Director Chris Gwynn.
“Chris told me that they were adding me to the 40-man roster and to keep working hard and doing what you are doing,” said Jones.
The phone call caught him off guard as Mariners Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara was also on the call.
“I was speechless, it was just really awesome,” added Jones.
James has for the most part fallen under the radar since being drafted out of LIU Brooklyn in the 4th round of 2009’s draft. He’s an athletic outfielder that has freakish speed and decent power for his build. He led the Southern League in triples with 10 in 2013, which was one away from the franchise record. As a whole he batted .275, with 6 home runs, 14 doubles, 10 triples and 45 RBIs. He committed just 5 errors in 101 games and logged 7 outfield assists.
“I felt like I took big strides (last season), especially defensively and getting good reads on the ball,” said Jones. I felt comfortable earlier in the season as well. I also think this past season, with help from the staff, I gained a better understanding what type of player I am and not do too much.”
Jones missed all but four games in August with a triceps injury to his throwing arm. He was promoted to Tacoma and played four games for the Rainiers (where he should start in 2014) to close the season. He went from there to Arizona.
“It was great to play in Co-Op games after the season. It was good to just pick up and continue playing for another month when the season ended. Our team was a split squad with the Brewers and we played the Reds, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Royals. But, I’m feeling really healthy right now.
If Jones makes it to Seattle, fans will fall in love with the Brooklyn, NY native. He has a contagious personality and is always smiling. He is constantly uplifting and will do anything to encourage a teammate or even a broadcaster.
This offseason he is giving back to his hometown.
“On Saturday’s I work with the New York City Varsity League’s at the Brookyln Cyclones ballpark. We do drills with them and it’s just a lot of fun. Former players like John Halama and John Franco also help with the league,” Jones added.
Jones still works out at his alma mater LIU-Brooklyn. “I’ve been working out a lot with the team on Monday through Friday’s. I chilled a little bit and then got back into training about three weeks ago.”
Jones on Logan Bawcom, Ji-Man Choi and Stefen Romero being added to the 40-man roster.
“It’s a good bunch very talented players there. I am really happy for them. I am hoping for the best for all of them to help out the Mariners.”
On who he keeps in contact with the most this offseason
“I stay in contact with a lot of guys but mostly Jack (Marder), Mickey Wiswall , John Hicks, Mike Dowd and Leon (Landry).”
On Mariners new manager Lloyd McClendon
“I think it is exciting. All the interviews that I’ve seen he seems like genuine dude and is going to be there for guys to develop. I am looking forward to gettingto know him and just being a sponge.”