CLEVELAND, Ohio — Nolan Jones, once Cleveland’s No. 1 overall minor league prospect, is heading to Colorado in a trade that will send infielder Juan Brito to the Guardians.
Jones, who made his major league debut on July 8 in Kansas City, was the organization’s second-round pick in the 2016 draft, and was rated at the top of Cleveland’s farm system in 2020. But injuries hampered his progress through the club’s player development system. By the time he debuted, Jones had missed parts of two seasons with surgery on his righty thumb in 2019 and his left ankle in 2021.
In 94 plate appearances across 28 games, Jones hit .244 with two home runs and 13 RBI. He walked eight times and struck out 31 with a .681 OPS. At Columbus, he batted .276 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in 55 games.
Brito, 21, spent 2022 at High-A Fresno, hitting .286 (115 for 402) with 29 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs and 72 RBI in 107 games. He finished fourth in the California League in doubles (29), sixth in on-base pct. (.407) and eighth in RBI (72). The switch-hitting middle infielder owns a three-year professional batting average of .295 (179-for-606) with 36 2B, 9 3B, 17 HR and 109 RBI in 169 games. He is currently rated Colorado’s 30th-best prospect per MLB Pipeline.
Brito was added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster once he was acquired.
The Guardians made a flurry of roster moves and trades Tuesday prior to Major League Baseball’s deadline for clubs to set their 40-man rosters ahead of next month’s Rule 5 draft. In addition to trading Jones, Cleveland dealt reliver Carlos Vargas to the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-hander Ross Carver.
The club also designated left-handers Kirk McCarty and Anthony Gose for assignment and added lefties Tim Herrin, Joey Cantillo and infielder Angel Martinez to the 40-man roster.
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