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November 2011

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COMMENTS

Cubs Add David DeJesus

Written by , Posted in General

The Cubs signed former Oakland A’s outfielder David DeJesus to a two year, $10 million deal today to be their everyday right fielder. I would think this means the end of the Tyler Colvin experiment and marks the first splash in the free agency market for the new regime.

DeJesus will be 32 years old for the 2012 season and is coming off a down year in Oakland where he hit 240/323/376 (309 wOBA) on the year. In his seven seasons in Kansas City, DeJesus put up a line of 289/360/426 (342 wOBA), which looks better but is still only slightly above average for a corner outfielder. In fact, those numbers look awfully similar to a former red headed Cub left fielder that went on to have success in Japan this past season.

A deeper glance at his 2011 shows that DeJesus made contact at a career low rate which led to a career high rate in strikeouts. It’s also true that his BABIP was a career worst .274 (career .316), so there may have been some bad luck involved.

Bottom line is the Cubs are getting a RF with solid defense and a decent OBP that bats from the left side. How does 270/350/400 with 12 or 13 homers sound for 2012?

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ok. But spending the $$ on this guy? Couldn’t Marlon Byrd have put up similar #’s for 2012?

    .270/.350/.400 with 12 HR sounds a lot like having Kosuke Fukudome back. Cheaper, but let’s get better, not just cheaper.

  • Seymour Butts

    I guess this effectively rules out Satan for a base coach position.

  • Norm

    Dusty, getting cheaper allows them to spend money in other areas to get better.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ok. If cheaper was what The Cubs needed, why not slide Marlon Byrd to RF, and put Brett Jackson in CF?

    Cheaper I get…but does this make the Cubs better?

  • Norm

    I anticipate one of Soriano or Byrd to be traded.
    And you also need a back up plan to Brett Jackson. Guy has contact problems.

  • Joe

    Byrd is a CF by trade. DeJesus can play corner OF

  • Dusty Baylor

    So Byrd can play CF, but not RF?
    Also DeJesus has spent most of his career in CF too.

    So a back up plan to Jackson, is signing DeJesus, and then trading Byrd? Uh….what? Jackson has had contact issues, but still has put up .292/.393/.491 in 1300 PA’s.
    If he came up and, as a rookie, played decent CF and hit .260/.350/.420 Cub fans would be happy with that.

  • I was silently pulling for LaHair to win right. I guess this dude might be our lead-off dude.

  • MJ

    “If he came up and, as a rookie, played decent CF and hit .260/.350/.420 Cub fans would be happy with that.”
    .
    In what world????

  • Norm

    I would be happy with that too.
    But what if its 220/300/380?

    “So a back up plan to Jackson, is signing DeJesus, and then trading Byrd? Uh….what?”
    If you give Jackson the CF job, it will be because Byrd is traded.
    Signing DeJesus, a guy that can play all 3 OF spots, means that if BJ fails, you can slide DeJesus over and plug in someone in RF (LaHair? Colvin?)
    Without DeJesus, you don’t have another CF. Colvin isn’t a CF and Campana blows.

  • gymjok

    I dont know seymour-his base stealing % is very bad-
    maybe satan as 1st base coach might help 🙂

  • gymjok

    norm-hopefully sori is gone this off-season
    byrd might be a better deadline deal if theyre out of the race

  • cap’n obvious

    So we pick up another over-priced, crappy outfielder. There are rookies that would have given the Cubs comparable production for $1MM a season. Campana blows, but DeJesus is not much better. So far, Theo is not impressing me.

  • Noah

    Cap’n, name the rookie in the Cubs organization that would give them comparable production not named Brett Jackson.

    $10 million over two years is a contract DeJesus will almost certainly outperform. He’s just not a “big name”. Solid pick up that won’t saddle the team with any long term money issues. He’s also paid little enough that he should be easy to trade if his value goes higher, and that you don’t mind moving him to a 4th OF if that is warranted.

    Honestly, regarding what the Cubs are planning to with their other OFs, that isn’t clear to me. I’m sure that Theo and Jed would love to get rid of Fonzi, but I’m not sure how much they would be willing to eat to get that done. As others noted, they could also trade Byrd. Or they could keep Jackson in AAA for another half or 3/4 of a season to work on contact skills and save up his service time for when he can help a more competitive team. And there are rumors the Cubs are in on Cespedes bidding.

  • Jedi

    We’re already improving, last year we blew $10mil for one year on a guy with a crappy average and an overrated OBP…this year, we get that same product for TWO seasons. The bar is so low, this feels like improvement, albeit in a very sad and ironic way.

  • Buddy

    Bryd’s career onbase: .339
    DeJesus’ career onbase: .356 (its .368 vs. RHP)

  • Doc Raker

    Any relation to Ivan DeJesus? Not impressed with the signing. Camparing DeJesus to Matt Murton, is DeJesus a ground ball machine like Murton?

  • Doc Raker

    How does BABIP figure out luck? I think it tells you more about how well balls are hit. Making contact is one thing, squaring a ball up is another. My perception of BABIP is about squaring balls up vs hitting 3 hoppers in addition to the luck factor. Luck is part of BABIP but more about how balls are hit is my perception.

  • Three hoppers, two hoppers, lazy warning track shots, cans of corn… I can do it all. Good thing I’m penciled in the rotation.

  • chris in illinois

    The Cubs had a team ob% of .314 last year with Pena’s 100+ walks (the fifth such season for a Cub since 1932), so I’ll take ‘over-rated’ OB%, under-rated ob%, twice-baked ob% or creamed ob%…let’s just not make so many outs without getting on base next year.

  • Doc Raker

    I don’t know why I am in the rotation, I have a career .689 OBP. Of course I am hitting against 60 year old accountants but still, raking is raking.

  • Norm

    Doc, does a player end up with a hit every time he squares it up?

    I find it hilarious that people still find OBP overrated. I wonder how long it took people to believe the Earth was round instead of flat.

  • At least a few thousand years, Norm.

  • Norm

    A friend of mine said I wasn’t clear in my post if I thought it was a good or bad move…I guess I wasn’t clear because I’m rather indifferent.
    He’s not a difference maker, but I think he can put up a an above average OBP, play good defense, and is a better RF option than anyone else in the organization and is capable of playing any of the three OF positions, which is a positive as well.
    He’ll be better than Marlon Byrd, and $2M cheaper in 2012. So, I approve…but, for lack of better description, it’s a boring move.

  • Lando87

    It may not be the sexiest signing in the world, and if we don’t manage to dump Soriano, the proposition of a Soriano-Byrd-DeJesus outfield is ‘meh’ at best.

    However, it will be awesome for Cubs fans to make signs that say “Don’t f*** with DeJesus!” #Lebowski

  • Jedi

    Pena’s OBP is overrated…since when are 100 walks and a hitter worthy of your 7-hole worth $10mil? Don’t misunderstand the point…it’s specifically his OBP that is wildly overrated.

  • Norm

    If you want to say he was overpaid, fine. That’s different than saying OBP is overrated or that his OBP is overrated.

    And then to say “this year, we get that same product for TWO seasons”, well, no. He’s half the price.

    Are you saying DeJesus is overpaid or that he’s overrated because of his OBP?

  • chris in illinois

    Would the Cubs have won more games if they had paid Pena less? If not, I don’t care what he’s paid. His OB% was valuable making fewer outs per 1000 abs is always preferable to the opposite.
    .
    .
    .
    Before I get jumped, obviously you can’t pay everyone 10 million bucks, but since he was one of the team’s two best hitters, his salary wasn’t out of line—-especially if his manager had used him in a more intelligent way.

  • Dusty Baylor

    MJ- So Cub fans would NOT be happy with a rookie CF who played good defense, and put up a modest .260/.350/.420? As a rookie? I’d be willing to bet if he got a season of PA’s, you’d get at least that…with 15 HR’s, 30 doubles, and 5-8 triples..with 20 steals. Perhaps you have seen a bunch of other Cub rookie CF’s who’ve done better than that, in some alternate universe?

    DeJesus will be better than Marlon Byrd. Well as Ric Flair once said…”WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” We signed a guy to a cheap 2 year deal to play RF and put up CF numbers. DeJesus career OPS+ of 106 vs. Byrd’s of 100. Well big effing deal.

  • Norm

    Clint Barmes got more money with a career 78 OPS+
    Mark Ellis is getting over $4M – He has a 94 OPS+
    Juan Rivera got $4.5 with a 104 OPS+
    Aaron Hill, 2 years, $11M, 94 OPS+

    The price is right.

    And Dusty, I’ll take you up on that bet with Brett Jackson. I’ll take the under on that OPS, doubles, and SB.

  • MJ

    Dusty, I’m saying there’d be bitching even if those were the said player’s numbers. No one in the Cubs world is happy with anything they do.
    .
    We clamor on to guys that suck (Theriot, Fontenot, Barney) because they’re scrappy, and bash the guys that haven’t even stepped on the field or that we’ve even see play. I recall a lot of bitching about the Byrd signing too.
    .
    It’s precisely why none of us are GMs. I liked the Pena signing for what it was. A terrible 1B market, and a guy that could potential rake (off of 20-30 year olds), with a high OBP, and great defensive skills. He wasn’t overpaid. It was the market value for him.
    .
    DeJesus isn’t a sexy signing, but I’ll take him for the $4.25 million this year and next, with the third year option that makes it a possible $10 Mil. I’m not a math genius, but that’s about $8.5 Mil for the two years, which is less than the Pena signing.

  • Norm

    MJ, I agree…if the Cubs sign someone that isn’t an All Star, fans get pissed.

  • chris in illinois

    I’ll like this deal much better if I see that Sveum plans on getting him 400-450 abs primarily against rhp…I’d like to see a four-man rotation (with the current roster) with no one player getting more than 500 PAs…Jackson, Soriano, Byrd and DeJesus could be ok add Pujols or Fielder, a starter or two and we can be competitive in 2012…
    .
    .
    .of course there is third base to consider…

  • Dusty Baylor

    I am not pissed because he’s not an all star. I am not pissed at all.
    I just don’t get spending that when you can shift Byrd to RF, and put Jackson in CF and see if he’s ready? DeJesus is a decent player….but that’s it. nice guy, takes his vitamins, loves his family, but he’s not that much of an upgrade. This is a team with holes at 1B, 3B, 2B-unlesss Camp Colvin helps Barney tremendously, and at least 2 spots in the rotation. So they signed a…decent player, with below average numbers for a right fielder. Ok. Meh.

  • chris in illinois

    Agreed he’s no world-beater, but I’m glad we have another guy who bats from the left side of the plate…

  • Jedi

    Norm, you missed a lot of sarcasm in my first comment. (Your comparison to flat earthers was a typically classy move…any dissent must be mocked and scorned in the furtherance of your more enlightened understanding)

    We just signed a fourth outfielder to be a starter, at a “bargain” for starter’s money (but exorbitant money for a backup) even though the guy has a “huge” OBP (and can’t hit lefties – or so I’m told). It’s no mistake that the Pena lovers also love DeJesus for the most part; or that some of us are derided as fools for not understanding the value of guy who walks but can’t hit.

    Why am I not enthused that we just signed left-handed Reed Johnson to a contract five times bigger than the real Reed Johnson (who hits guys that throw from either arm)?

    We’re getting close to having 8 guys who can play against lefties and 8 who can play against righties with no crossover. Just a dump a few pitchers to make room for 16 position players, dump Castro, and we’d be there.

    Signing another guy to be a starter who is coming off a bad year with “someone to prove” when all his stats indicate he’s a backup or platoon player is not how you build a championship team. Becoming a haven for castoffs, aging vets, and guys with a specific skill (just one skill) isn’t how we’re going to get better.

    But DeJesus got two years, maybe three. He’s not a building block, and if anything this seems to be a placeholder…a way to stay marginally competitive until the farm system can be restocked. This doesn’t seem to me as though it’s a big picture move…which is why I don’t like it. Don’t placate me with these guys who takes walks and provide some false hope of runs we “should be scoring if we weren’t so unlucky” – show me a team of talented guys who can score runs, not just get on base incessantly. I would think of all people Cubs fans would understand that more than anyone. We finally are through with Kosuke, the OBP stat-whore who was utterly useless for four straight years.

    Reed Johnson for a million would’ve been markedly better than DeJesus for five.

    MJ, your math isn’t lacking, but you missed the buyout that he’s getting if that third isn’t picked up. He’s either getting 2yrs for $10mil or 3yrs for $15mil.

  • chris in illinois

    Jedi, if you can’t understand that Pena was a very valuable bat against right-handers than I can’t help you. Would I prefer he hit equally well against lhp?? Of course. Just out of curiosity, who would you like to play first for the Cubs??

  • Jedi

    I understand that his value is ONLY against RHP, and even then he’s a sixth place hitter. So two or three at-bats is great when a righty starts, then he’s neutralized by the bullpen entirely. I’m tired of playing a platoon guy at first and paying middle of the order “starter’s” money when we have absolute garbage for starting pitchers (and we’re talking about trading the one good one we have).

  • MJ

    Jedi, where’d you get the DeJesus contract info? I read the article in the Trib and that’s not how it was broken down.
    .
    “doesn’t seem to me as though it’s a big picture move”
    .
    Big picture moves like the ones I think Theo and Co. are looking at take a lot more time. He filled a need ASAP. I can live with that for now.

  • Jedi

    Not sure that platoon outfielder was a need.

    Here’s one place, but everyone is reporting 2 yrs for $10mil including this post.

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/9164009-419/david-dejesus-will-improve-cubs-in-several-areas.html

    Let’s also not forget this is the new regime’s first move…Ed Lynch would be proud.

  • Norm

    What does being the first move have to do with anything?

  • Jedi

    When you look at this franchise do you say, “what this team really needs is David DeJesus!” After a month that’s what was determined to be a priority, a left-handed Reed Johnson. Unless you blindly trust every Theo move, I don’t see how this is anything even close to satisfactory.

  • Doc Raker

    Norm- One does not get a hit every time one squares one up which is why I said luck is part of BABIP. Luck is not the only variable in the BABIP stat. The more variables in a stat the less worth it has. I think BABIP has 2 variables, luck and how a ball is hit.

  • Buddy

    I like Chris from IL’s outfield rotation idea. I just hope that Byrd isn’t part of it.

  • Jedi

    Doc, you’re so wrong…there’s obviously only one explanation for a lower than career average BABIP, an unlucky year. Defensive shifts, skill erosion, the fact that perhaps a player had been inordinately lucky up to that point (instead of the opposite), the possibility that the league figured him out…none of those can truly explain it away perfectly. But something measurable like luck can (when you get a stat you don’t like, just toss it out).

    If you had your eyes open to the wisdom of true baseball knowledge you would understand perfectly (and probably say a few “Hail Theo’s” just to be sure you weren’t hanging onto any of your stodgy old statistical ideas and prejudices).

  • Jedi

    By the way, Keith Law, patron saint of the advanced metrics crowd – has a piece up about the 50 best players under 25. The Cubs have just one. For us to get better, we need more young talent. And we also need to stop paying guys on the bad side of 30 in new deals.

    Theo is always talking about paying a player for what he will do, not what he has done. Let’s judge Theo on what he does for the Cubs, not what he did for the Red Sox. Give him time to build his team, I don’t think his every move needs to be immediately lauded and rationalized for the positives.

  • I’m not worried about Law’s list. I have “Fast Tony” Campana on my 5 “fastest players under 5’6″” list, Colvin on my “7 best players stabbed by broken bats” list, and several Cubs on my “players named Carlos” list.

  • lizzie

    @jswan Add me to the Fast Tony list if you please. I’m 4’11” and quick as a bunny. If you’re going to to be in the rotation the least I can do is pinch run for you occasionally.

  • Norm

    Well, since Jedi brought up Keith Law…..

    Bryan (PHX)
    Any thoughts on the DeJesus signing for CHI?

    Klaw
    Like it. Not sure he was undervalued, but he’s with another club that will value what he’s good at.

  • Norm

    “Doc, you’re so wrong…there’s obviously only one explanation for a lower than career average BABIP, an unlucky year.”

    Read again:
    “so there may have been some bad luck involved.”
    *may have been some*
    MAY HAVE BEEN SOME
    [may have been some]
    may have been some
    ————-
    Anywho, Doc, my fault, I thought you were asking how luck was a part of babip.
    But you’re right, HOW he hit it is a part of the equation. You can see that in his ground ball/line drive/fly ball rates and his HR’s per fly ball (HR/FB). All of those numbers remained in line with his career numbers.
    If he’s a .280 career hitter and he hits 20% line drives ever year, sometimes more of those line drives will fall and sometimes less of those line drives will fall.
    If that LD% drops to 15%, that’s a pretty good indicator that it wasn’t luck.

    If you want to believe he was inordinately lucky for 3800 plate appearances, well, more power to you.

  • You made the list Lizzie. Right now, you are seeded third, behind Fast Tony and Eddie Gaedel. I bet you could alter the towel workout to strengthen your legs and increase your rank. Keep us posted.

  • lizzie

    I’m on task. I might have to sign myself up for Raker’s winter week o’ ball for some experience against live ballplayers. Those towels give me a run for my money but there’s nothing like going up against some mid-50s accountants for a confidence boost. 🙂

  • Doc Raker

    Still room available Lizzie, hop aboard the Glendale Cubs sponsored by Advil.

  • lizzie

    Does the price include scheduled Dinners With Seymour or is that an additional fee?

  • BLPCB

    16 year old me could have made your list j. I was a swimmer in HS, pretty fast back then. Not Michael Phelps fast, but I held my own. A sub-30 50

    I don’t know what to think of the signing. I think the Cubs could have gotten someone else. If he is just a place-holder, why not use Campana as a place-holder. He can do just as lousy of a job for less. Don’t spend excessive money on place-holders. Just play the kids, and who knows, we might even find a regular out of it.

  • Buddy

    Other than maybe pinch running and playing defense in the 9th inning, Campana is not a kid I want to see play.

  • Norm

    Who could the Cubs have gotten that bats lefty and can play all 3 OF spots?