The Detroit Tigers will place center fielder JaCoby Jones on the 10-day injured list and recall infielder Ronny Rodriguez from Triple-A Toledo following Saturday’s embarrassing 7-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Jones, who left Thursday’s game after being hit by a pitch, was diagnosed with a left wrist fracture.
Given the timetable needed for healing, Jones is likely out for the remainder of the season. Fractured bones take roughly six weeks to heal, and wrist injuries can be rather finicky for athletes, and baseball players in particular. Wrist ailments can sap a hitter’s power for months on end, so it comes as no surprise that Jones is likely to miss the remaining 46 games of the regular season.
While WAR figures will disagree, Jones has had arguably his best season to date in 2019. He is hitting .235/.310/.430 through 88 games. All three figures are career-bests, as is his 92 wRC+ through 333 plate appearances. However, according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference, Jones has been a replacement level player in 2019 thanks to defense that has taken a major step back from what he produced in 2018. For whatever reason, defensive metrics have swung violently in the opposite direction of last year; after producing +10 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, he has been worth -13 DRS this year.
To replace Jones on the 25-man roster, the Tigers will turn to infielder Ronny Rodriguez. ‘El Felino’ was the Tigers’ best hitter for a decent stretch earlier this year, but cooled off considerably afterward. He currently owns a .690 OPS in 176 total plate appearances for the Tigers this year. He produced a .934 OPS down in Triple-A this year, and was riding a 12-game hitting streak — many of them multi-hit games — before getting recalled on Saturday.
To replace Jones in practice, the Tigers will likely turn to a combination of Victor Reyes and Harold Castro in center field. Reyes has played in center field for the past two games, and his defense has been... adventurous at best. He whiffed on a fly ball to deep center that turned into an inside-the-park home run to open up Friday’s game, and was part of some shoddy defensive work from the Tigers in Saturday’s loss.
While many Tigers fans likely will have wanted to see Daz Cameron called up to replace Jones, the young prospect has struggled to hit Triple-A pitching for long stretches in 2019. He has an overall line of .218/.322/.372 in 428 plate appearances, but is hitting just .183 since July 1 with a paltry .620 OPS. Cameron will be Rule 5 eligible this offseason, and will need to be added to the Tigers’ 40-man roster before the MLB Winter Meetings in December.