Inside The Ivy: Jon, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to the Cubs’ organization?
Jon Searles: I was drafted out of high school in 1999 by the Pirates. I had already committed to play football and baseball at the University of Pennsylvania, but I signed with the Pirates anyway. I had also negotiated with the organization to go to school my first two years. In my contract, I was allowed to go for six semesters uninterrupted. I played my final year with the Pirates in the South Atlantic League with the Hickory Crawdads in 2002. After that year, I got traded to the Expos with Chris Young and Matt Herges.
Inside The Ivy: How is your contract situation at the moment? Are you “guaranteed” through next season?
Jon Searles: No. As of October 15, I’ll become a free agent and can talk with or sign with any organization. I think I had a pretty good year with the Cubs. Our team worked well together. Being this was my first year of playing with these guys, I’d like to stay here if things work out. I was impressed with the quality of character in this organization. My teammates all cared genuinely about each other.
Inside The Ivy: This was really your first solid year at Double-A. How would you describe it?
Jon Searles: Yeah, I played about three months there last year (at Harrisburg). It’s not easy to make the jump to Double-A. It’s nice to be playing at a level where you start to really find out if you can make it or not. The Atlanta Braves had a lot of guys go up to the major league club from their Double-A this year, and I know we had four. You start to stack yourself up against this competition.
Inside The Ivy: You were somewhat of an eighth-inning guy this season. Were you used to that role heading into the season?
Jon Searles: I did it some with the Pirates, and I was a closer in Brevard County (Class-A) during the second half one year. I’m used to doing it all, really. I’m the guy of kind who is used in the second inning when a starter is getting crushed and also a guy who can come right in and face only one batter. From a pitcher's standpoint, the bullpen is about as close to being an everyday position player as you can get I think.
Inside The Ivy: What does your offseason regime usually consist of?
Jon Searles: I’m actually back in school right now. I’m a finance major here at the Wharton School of Business. Every fall, I come back to college here in Philadelphia. Soon I'll start getting back to the weights and running a little bit. I usually don’t start throwing until the very end of December, however, which is right around the same time as my finals. I know my arm by now and it bounces back pretty quickly.
Inside The Ivy: Lastly, has anyone ever told you that you share a similar name with a semi-famous author (John Searles)?
Jon Searles: No. [laughs]