It appears that despite the move to the Windy City, Theo Epstein hasn’t lost his touch. In his first move since joining the Cubs as their
General Manager President of Baseball Operations, Epstein signed* David DeJesus to a two year, $10 million contract today. The contract also has an option for a third year.
Just by taking a glance at DeJesus’ player page, it’s easy to fall in love with this deal. DeJesus is no star outfielder and his name doesn’t conjure up images of diving catches or towering home runs, but he’s a quietly productive and underrated player. He’s no whiz with the bat — .277/.349/.417 line over the last three years, which translates to a .334 wOBA and 5% above average — but he makes up for it by being an above average baserunner and defensive outfielder. DeJesus played the majority of the 2011 season in right field for the Athletics, and depending on what defensive stat you trust most, he was anywhere from a +10 to +13 fielder out there. He had one of his worst seasons at the plate last year — .309 wOBA, 5% below average — but even then, he managed to be a 2.2 WAR player in right.
So on the face of things, the Cubs just got a great deal. They signed an average outfielder to a below-market rate contract — they’re paying him like he’s a 1.0 WAR outfielder, essentially — and they filled their hole in right field. They also improved their team overall, as DeJesus is an improvement over 34-years-old-and-sinking-fast Kosuke Fokudome.
But this deal also raises two interesting questions. Considering he had such a rough offensive year in 2011 and he’ll be 32-years-old in 2012, should the Cubs be worried about his bat? And what does this deal mean about top prospect Brett Jackson?
*Good catch, everyone. Jed Hoyer is technically the GM for the Cubs right now. Whoops, my bad.
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