David DeJesus and Dayton’s Destiny

In the aftermath of the Teahen-for-Getz-and-Fields trade, there is a rumor that the Royals see Fields as an option in left field, and are exploring the trade market for David DeJesus. Fields’ abilities aside, they should be.

Many probably think of DeJesus as a player who is good… for the Royals. He no longer has the range to play CF well, and he doesn’t hit as one usually expects from a left fielder. Maybe that’s why so many people who should know better say things like “DeJesus is a fourth outfielder on a good team.” Those people should be embarrassed.

Here are three-year WAR totals for five outfielders from 2007-2009: 9.2, 8.9, 8.7, 7.4, 6.5. Without looking, who are these players?

In order: Torii Hunter, Johnny Damon, David DeJesus, Andre Ethier, and Jason Bay.

That’s right, over the last three seasons, DeJesus has been practically equal in value to Hunter (whose overrated-ness is seriously underrated) and Damon (just plain overrated); DeJesus has been more valuable than Ethier and Jason “Do People Seriously Think I’m Anywhere Close to as Good as Matt Holliday?” Bay. All five are good, but would DeJesus ever be offered a 5/$90M deal? Would his agent ever compare him to Derek Jeter? Would anyone bother comparing DeJesus to Holliday? Would you take anyone seriously who said that “Ethier is a fourth outfielder on a good team?”

Take Bay, one of the alleged prizes of the free agent crop. I have him as about a 2.5-3 WAR player next season — decent. As for DeJesus, I have him as about a +10 fielder and a +6 hitter — so he’s also right in that 2.5-3 WAR area. Maybe Bay’s closer to 3 and DDJ’s closer to 2.5, but think about this: could you get Jason Bay for 2/$10.7M? Because that’s all DeJesus is going to cost if a team picks up his 2011 option. In other words, teams contending now in and in need of a left fielder would do well to look into DeJesus — he’s likely to be worth at least twice as what he’s paid, and he’s just about as good as the far more expensive options on the open market.

On the Royals’ end, Dayton Moore has spent the last year or two ensuring that he has to be brought up in any “worst GM” conversation. He might finally be doing what he should have done three years ago — trading older assets that are unlikely to be with the Royals (or shouldn’t be) when they have a chance at contending. Whether or not Moore knows what DeJesus and his contract are worth in the young talent the Royals should be pursuing is one (big) question; whether he is able to identify such players is another. It’s potentially a step in the right direction. If Moore can find another team willing to give up appropriate talent, this could be a good move for both teams.

Maybe then smart Royals fans would be a bit more willing to put aside their lust for instant gratification and Trust the Process™.

And maybe, just maybe, Omar Minaya might be all alone at the bottom of the pile.

Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.

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14 years ago

this site puts wayyy to much emphasis on defense… It is pretty obvious that dejesus is LESS then those players… but cause of this overrated stat called WAR, stupid people can make dumb arguments that someone like david dejesus is more valuable then Jason bay and Andre Ethier…

Basil Ganglia
14 years ago
Reply to  matthew

Matthew – meet Jack Zduriencik. Jack begs to differ.

14 years ago
Reply to  Basil Ganglia

Obviously if Jack Z., who needs a left fielder, really believes that defense is that important he will be willing to part with a package starting with Aumont for DeJesus. Dayton will be waiting by the phone…

Why isn’t what teams are actually willing to pay for players both on the open market and in trades a metric that should be considered in the analysis? Or is the WAR hypothesis that the market it always wrong?

14 years ago
Reply to  Basil Ganglia

ehh, why bother?

14 years ago
Reply to  matthew

The large difference between those people and you, is that those people have evidence to back up their beliefs. You just have your opinions.

14 years ago
Reply to  matthew

Run-on sentences and random caps=ethos. I think you’ve inspired a new metric: PN/P. It’s called proper nouns(on a per player basis). My rudimentary count has dejesus(sic) as .0(below replacement level!) bay(sic) at .5 and Ethier at 1.000. I don’t have the league or park adjustments handy but clearly Ethier is the best, regardless of his inability to field balls hit near or at him.

PhD Brian
14 years ago
Reply to  matthew

actually if you do some homework you could find studies as solid as gravity that show defense is not even given enough credit here.