T-Bones add four players, including team’s 2012 MVP

Brandon Jones (2012 File Photo by Matthew Hicks.)
02/26/2013 9:20 AM -

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Kansas City T-Bones have announced the signings of 2012 team MVP Brandon Jones, plus Ethan Cole and Kennard Jones. They’ve also traded for Karexon Sanchez.

Brandon Jones, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound outfielder, is a former Major League player with the Atlanta Braves. He batted .326 with 14 home runs, 73 RBIs and 28 doubles for the T-Bones in 2012. He finished fourth in the American Association with 206 total bases and fourth in the league with 46 extra-base hits. The Kansas City Royals drafted Jones originally in the sixth round of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft out of high school, and then the Braves selected him in the 24th round in 2003 out of Tallahassee Community College. Jones appeared in 51 Major League games for the Braves during 2007-09, batting .257 with 38 hits and 11 doubles. He spent parts of eight seasons with four organizations – Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Milwaukee – before joining the T-Bones in ’12.

“I think Brandon’s one of the premier offensive players in our league,” said T-Bones manager Kenny Hook. “He can hit for average and power, and he’s one of the toughest outs you’ll find. He’s a quiet leader. If something needs to be said, he’ll say it; otherwise he leads by example. He fits perfectly with what we want to do. He’ll have some more designated hitter time this season, so I think his offensive numbers will go up.”

Cole, a 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed pitcher out of Austin, Texas, spent the last two seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. Last season, pitching for the organization’s high-A Quad Cities club, Cole was 4-1 with one save and 77 1/3 innings in 45 appearances. In addition to a 1.98 ERA, Cole struck out 65 batters while walking 19. The Cardinals released Cole in January.

“Ethan is a guy who has above average command,” Hook said. “He comes highly recommended from some guys I trust in the Cardinals organization. He’s young and he’s shown, numbers wise, that he can help in the back end of the bullpen.”

Kennard Jones, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound outfielder from Beltsville, Md., is a career .276 hitter with 1,276 hits and 242 stolen bases, and a .975 fielding percentage, in 11 professional seasons. Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft, Jones reached triple-A with the Padres in 2005 and ’06. He then spent most of 2007 and ’08 in the Baltimore farm system, before playing for four teams in the Independent Atlantic League. Jones has stolen at least 28 bases in each of his last three seasons (40, 28, 28).

“This is probably one of the most important signings of the offseason for me, because I wanted to find a true center fielder, and Kennard is it,” said Hook. “He’s also a stolen base threat, who can come in here and be a great lead-off guy for us.”

Additionally, the T-Bones acquired Sanchez, a 5-foot-10, 197-pound infielder from Schaumburg of the Frontier League in exchange for a player to be determined. Sanchez spent six seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization, reaching double-A in 2011. Although he has been a middle infielder most of his career, Sanchez has seen action at third base, first base and in the outfield, too.

“The main reason I wanted to acquire Sanchez is because of what I know about him defensively,” Hook said. “He can play the middle infield spots and third base. Our pitching staff throws a lot of ground balls, so we need infielders who can make plays. Sanchez is one of those guys.”