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Today, as had been rumored for a bit now, the Chicago Cubs signed outfielder David DeJesus to a reported two-year, $10 million contract. He gets $4.25 million in each of the next two years. The deal includes a team option for 2014 at $6.5 million, with a $1.5 million buyout.

DeJesus, 31 (32 next month), played his first season outside of Kansas City last year, in Oakland, and struggled, putting up a .240/.323/.376 line in a little over 500 plate appearances. He primarily played in the corner outfield spots in recent years, and is expected to be given a shot at the full-time job in right field next year (depending on how the outfield shakes out over the rest of the Winter). The move suggests top prospect Brett Jackson will not have a starting spot in the outfield unless one of Marlon Byrd or Alfonso Soriano are moved before Opening Day (there are rumors that this is a precursor to a Soriano trade, for what it’s worth). It also ensures that Tyler Colvin will be a 4th outfielder, at best, to start the year. Reed Johnson is even less likely to come back now.

For his career, DeJesus is a .284/.356/.421 hitter. The OBP is great, but it obviously isn’t the kind of power you expect to see out of a corner outfielder. Still, DeJesus plays above average defense, which has been something of a problem in the Wrigley outfield for a number of years. He’s patient at the plate, hits lefty, and is a veteran presence – all of which make him the kind of player Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have proclaimed to be their target this Winter.

Even in a down year, FanGraphs says DeJesus was 2.2 WAR player last year (“worth” $10 million), thanks to solid defense. It’s fair to expect him to bounce back offensively in 2012, after an unusually low .274 BABIP last year (batting average on balls in play – his career mark is .316, and a drop like that is usually attributable to mere bad luck, which tends to course correct the next year).

A two-year deal for DeJesus is acceptable, and the $5 million annual rate is a million short of what he made last year. It’s on the high end of what I’d previously estimated DeJesus would get (I said two years, $8 to 10 million), but that’s probably to be expected in the new CBA era.

The addition, at a relative value rate, doesn’t preclude the Cubs from making more substantial additions at the corner infield spots, and in the rotation. That, I suspect, was probably a big part of the allure of DeJesus.

Another allure? I get to say “Nobody F’s with DeJesus” over and over again this year. I can’t wait until the first Enhanced Box Score where DeJesus has a good game…

On the balance, it’s a solid move. Not earth-moving, but a good first step. I suspect it’s but one piece of a large, very exciting puzzle.

  • Jeremy

    So does this mean Colvin will be heading to Boston? Or LF?? Thought I’d read somewhere that he may be involved in the Theo compensation…?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      He could play left, or he could platoon in left with a right handed bat.

      If the Cubs can sign Cespedes and trade Soriano, that would give them a probable outfield of:
      LF – Cespedes
      CF – Byrd
      RF – DeJesus
      Bench – Colvin, Campana

      When Jackson comes up, either send Campana to Iowa and bench Byrd, or just trade Byrd. I think Colvin could probably find enough at bats in left (with Cespedes playing some center) to stay productive. If he doesn’t produce, the Cubs would still be just fine.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        *IF* the Cubs sign Cespedes, and *IF* both he and Brett Jackson prove ready for MLB this year … an outfield of Cespedes, Jackson and DeJesus might be the best defensive outfield in baseball.

        • EQ76

          I have a feeling Byrd may be a trade deadline guy next year. I think they’ll view Byrd as an insurance policy not knowing if Jackson will be ready or not. If they call Jackson up in April or May & he produces, Byrd becomes expendable and gets traded.. if not, you still have Byrd in CF and Jackson has more time & less pressure to develop.

          • Hawkeye

            Bingo!   Now we just have to finish up the outfield process with Cespedes and Soriano.  Colvin and Reed are your backups?

  • Hawkeye

    Brett,  I have read thousands of words that you have written and I feel like I can get a sense of your emotions at any given time.   When I read this post, I didn’t get any excitement from you.   Sounds like you believe this to be a solid signing, but nothing to jump up and down about.   Just trying to get a read as this is our first real action of the new front office.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Your read of me is correct. I’m pleased. It’s fine. I suspect it’s one piece of a much larger puzzle.

      • Hawkeye

        I thought I was getting that vibe.   Hopefully you are correct and we can get some more excitement when the puzzle is finally assembled.   I guess I just got so used to all the “squealing” that you had going on around here that I found this one to be just a bit of a let down.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          There are certain moves the Cubs could make this Winter that would merit a squeal. Probably nothing quite like Epstein (though the final squeal post was the single most fun post I’ve ever put together).

  • Andy

    Another thought on DeJesus. He’s a lifetime leadoff hitter and he bats left handed.

    I’m assuming that moves Castro down to 3rd in the batting order? In front of maybe, a Fielder?

    • Bails17

      I like Castro 1. and DeJesus 2.

      • http://Bleachernation Bric

        So do I. And I can see Colvin ending up at first even though not many other people do.

    • Jeff

      I don’t know that DeJesus’ average and OBP are good enough to lead off.   He seems like a Kosuke Fukudome clone to me, good OBP, good defense, hustles, struggles at the plate sometimes.

      • JB88

        To me he seems like the perfect 7 hitter in a good lineup, which obviously, is perhaps a luxury the Cubs don’t have yet. Maybe DeJesus bats 2nd given his OBP and L bat?

    • Jeff

      .327, .335, .225, those are Castro’s BA numbers batting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively.  No way in hell should he bat third.  Maybe in a couple of years, but not to start next year.

      • CubFan Paul

        agreed.

  • Jim

    Jackson dejesus Castro fielder. OBP speed and power

    • Bails17

      No way we start with Jackson leading off either.

    • EQ76

      It seemed like Castro thrived in the 1 and 2 hole last year.. he and Barney for a while there were entertaining to watch batting first and second. I see Castro as the perfect 2 hole hitter. He makes good contact, gets a ton of hits, and still doesn’t have the power to hit 3rd. Dejesus may bat lower in the lineup, shoot, we still have a lot of roster to fill.. we could have someone totally different leading off!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    FYI, the post has been updated substantially from the first iteration.

  • JK

    Solid pick-up. The pieces are starting to fall into place. Solid defense, top of order player. Makes the power slots of 3B and 1B more important. Really like not going into spring training with RF being a fight between Colvin/Johnson/LaHair. If Colvin and LaHair show enough, then another trade option.

  • oswego chris

    a good first move that indicates that(I guess I am being redundant because Brett said as much) they are going to spend money in other areas….the 2 WAR is pretty impressive considering his offense….

    I like it…

  • A_Mazz_Ing

    “Another allure? I get to say “Nobody F’s with the DeJesus” over and over again this year. I can’t wait until the first Enhanced Box Score where DeJesus has a good game…”

    Oh man, I can’t wait for that either. The Enhanced Box Score made even last year’s pitiful performances hilarious because it gave you pleanty of fuel.

  • LoneStarCub

    First Post! Being a transplant from Southern Illinois to Austin, TX  I just wanted to send out a Thank You to all of Bleacher Nation. Being in Texas the past few years my Cubs fever had subsided. I stopped taking days off work to watch the Cubs play on WGN. I stopped getting excited about the Cubs playing baseball period. I made the drive to Houston to watch a few Cubs games, but not even that could get me back on the wagon. Until a few months ago I found this site. It was the beginning of the GM search and the post were coming steadily, all of the sudden I realized that I had caught the fever again. Homepages set, Wrigley in the background, Constantly checking BN! Telling my girlfriend about Theo and all the possibilities for the season and getting nothing but a blank stare back. Sorry for being long winded but this site has truly given me back my Cubs spirit and has rejuvenated my passion for cubs baseball. Thank you Brett!  I can not wait for all of the signing and the trades and all of the excitement that is about to ensue!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, LoneStar. Welcome. It should be an exciting next few years.

    • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

      Yes, welcome!

      Now let’s see you comment some more – we wanna get to know ya!

  • http://www.calliopevoices.com EtotheR

    I guess we’re always looking for star power, and I suspect that may be coming.

    Still…looking at the Theo/Jed model; they’ve always built teams with an abundance of “cogs”. The guys who are more than role players, and become part of a fairly complex puzzle.

    Youkilis comes to mind. While he’s had some stellar years, and has a nice career going, he’s probably best described as being “very solid” (IMO). DeJesus may not be an exact match, but he strikes me as similar.

    I’ll take it…but, I hope the big pictures evolves soon.

  • MightyBear

    Good first signing. Just what Theo and the boys alluded to. Good defense, works the count, doesn’t strike out as much, can play multiple outfield positions, left handed bat off the bench, etc. Pretty inexpensive and not committed for a long time too (it’s all relative – $5 million). Very good to see.

  • bacboris

    See guys, it may be a little late but its all working out to plan. Just add Roberts and Peavy and we’ll be set to win it all. -J. Hendry

    [Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I do like the signing and have always thought that Hendry is a good guy but the potential for jokes here is too tempting. Even without the Big Lebowski fall backs]

  • Sam

    1. Castro
    2. DeJesus
    3. Fielder
    4. Headley
    5. Soto
    6. Cespedes
    7. Jackson
    8. Barney

    • Katie

      Me likey!

    • Jordan

      I would cream my pants for that line up….now who would be your sp?

      • willis

        Garza
        Demp
        Wells
        Cashner
        Maholm (just a guess)

        Shark
        Marshall
        Carpenter
        Wood
        Russell
        Beliveau

        • john

          and Zambrano?

          • jt

            Yep, I’ve repeatedly said that Zambrano is at the very least going to start the season with the cubs. It’s a contract year and a new boss, he’s got everything to prove and will have to earn his way in from now until the team leaves spring training to get into the rotation.

            With no real elite pitchers available through free agency this offseason I think they’ve decided it’s worth taking a chance that he’ll be able to contribute.

    • CubFan Paul

      1. Castro
      2. DeJesus
      3. Fielder
      4. ian Stewart
      5. Cespedes
      6. Jackson
      7. Soto
      8. Barney

      but i think Byrd will be back and i like Stewart over Headley because we need Power, more Power!!

      1. Castro
      2. DeJesus
      3. Fielder
      4. ian Stewart
      5. Cespedes
      6. Byrd
      7. Soto
      8. LeMahieu/Jeff Baker

      • hardtop

        paul, im not on the ian stewart band wagon with you. in fact, im so far from it i cant even make it out i the distance. i have seen more rockies games than i care to admit since moving to denver 10ish years ago. i have seen stewart play, well most of his pro games i suppose, and even followed him a little in the minors during the hurdle years and beyond. i would classify him as a world class let down. i dont know where he was drafted or what was expected from him, but he had half a good season and then crawled into to a den of suck. a good indication of this is the rockies went out and got a third baseman last year instead of using stewart. the new guy sucked so they went to ty wigginton, wigginton went to the outfield, they went to someone else, that guys sucked, they tried someone else. stewart remained in the minors. finally he was like their 5th shot to get someone to play 3rd, and…they sent him back down. ouchy. i would rather play dewitt at 3rd all day than stewart. im not even a dewitt fan, but can tell you, i am 99% sure dewitt would outperform stewart in every way. in summary, in my opinion, ian stewart is the answer to only one question: how badly do you want to loose?

  • Josh Z

    I think it is a good move. He is going to produce more runs than any RF from last year. I wonder if Colvin or LaHair are going to fight him for the spot of if DeJesus will be the starter. If nothing else it makes the team deeper which is important.

  • hardtop

    meh, for two years, i’m not complaining, but i’m not running out to get a DeJesus jersey either. I think for a sub .300 utility outfielder they could have probably gotten a little younger for the same or less money but, so it goes. If nothing else i like this move because I was already missing the “nobody f’s with de Jesus” type jokes after Ivan was dismissed.

    Speaking of DeJesus Jerseys… there are people running around Denver in Broncos jerseys bearing Tebow’s number 15, but the name “Jesus” on the back. sacrilege i say! absolute heresy! Jesus could throw a damn spiral!

  • Camiata2

    I can’t wait for the proliferation of “DeJesus is my homeboy”, “DeJesus esta mi hombre”, and/or “Nobody fucks wih DeJesus” shirts around Wrigley this upcoming season.  They would rank up there with my all-time favs of “I’ve got a hard-on for Harden” and the “Byrd Byrd Byrd” shirts

    • Katie

      My two favorite shirts I bought at Wrigley are my Cuck The Fardinals and Byrd Byrd Byrd.

  • JasonB

    $5 million per year for the next two years for DeJesus – I’ll take it.  Solid, solid move.

  • TonyP

    The player with the most comparable career stats is Marlon Byrd…

  • BD

    “Another allure? I get to say “Nobody F’s with the DeJesus” over and over again this year.”

    I’m sorry, but I don’t get this. Can somebody get me up to speed?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s from the Big Lebowski, the most quotable movie in history:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzEMGstc4w0

      • BD

        I have no explanation as to why, but I managed to miss that one during my movie-watching “career.”

        • Hawkeye

          Get ready for the BN faithful  to come down on you hard, BD.   I didn’t know what “sponge worthy” meant, and I caught hell for that.   I have, at least, seen the Big Lebowski.   I am in the clear on this one.

          • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

            “Yeah, well, y’know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man” is another one you have to know for this site.

        • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

          Uh…..

          You’re not allowed to comment again till you watch it.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Duuude. Dude. You must watch that movie. On repeat. For a week.

          Other notable phrases used here with impunity that you may not have gotten:

          “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

          “Nothing is f’d? The goddamned plane has crashed into the mountain!”

          “Out of your element.”

          “Obviously you’re not a golfer.”

          I could go on … I feel the urge to watch it again.

          • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

            Me too.

          • http://www.calliopevoices.com EtotheR

            SHOMER SHABBOS!

      • duck

        wouldn’t it simply be “nobody effs with DeJesus”?

        no “the”?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That rolls off the tongue better. Yup. I’ll go with that.

  • kubphan82

    As soon as Esptein was named President I marked these guys as targets:
    Kotchman
    Infante
    Betemit
    Dejesus
    Bedard
    Maholm
    K.Wood/Reed Johnson brought back
    and once Cespedes and Soler were brought to the fray, I added them.

    Do you think those type of players in FA are typical of Theo? If so, do you see any of the others joining the Cubs?

    PS: Your initial estimate for Dejesus contract looks pretty close: I’ve read several sources stating: DeJesus to earn $4.25 million each of the next 2 yrs with 3rd yr $6.5 million club option and $1.5 million buyout.

  • Diego

    “Nobody F’s with the DeJesus”…great stuff Brett! I can’t wait to read/hear it over and over! keep it up!

  • john

    CF Byrd?
    RF Dejesus
    LF Soriano/Colvin
    1st 2nd SS 3rd
    Fielder Kelly Johnson Barney Castro
    Castro Dejesus Byrd Fielder Johnson Soriano Barney Soto

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    I think Theo’s plan is to dump as much $ as possible, Marmol,Soto, Byrd, Soriano, Zambrano,maybe even Garza..Sign Puhjlois or Fielder, and get some good young pitching.
    The money you dump will help pay for Albert P. If you trade Garza for 1 or 2 young starters, add Samardza, Wells, Demp for 1 year, maybe Maholm, Buhrlie if possible.Get way better defensively.This way you compete in 2012. It does not take till 2014 like alot of people say.This will be a GREAT winter meetings

    • jt

      I don’t think that we’re as far away as most people assume from at least making a good run (possibly wild card). If I recall correctly at the beginning of the season St Louis was picked by quite a few people to be in the middle of the pack in the central. Especially after Wainright went down.

      Can’t wait to see what the roster looks like in the next couple of weeks.

    • hardtop

      wierd thing about byrd is he (thed) just signed another byrd (in dejesus) very simlar players for similar money. early 30’s, outfielders, similar stats. im not sure why you would replace byrd with byrd? unless you are planning on keeping byrd to play along side byrd and of course, batting byrd after byrd.
      im thinking the jesus, action jackson, and harvey byrd-man (attorney at law) make up the cubs outfield. why not… oh yeah, because we need to replace like 60 homers from pena, fonzie, and aramis ;)

      • john

        Fielder Johnson and Cedpedes

      • john

        Looks like they want grinders. Nothing wrong with that.
        Look for Castro to have 100 + runs and Fielder to have 125+ RBI’s

  • jt

    I love that there’s a club option in there. I can’t remember even 1 club option that Hendry has given out. The club option puts the accountability on the player to live up to his contract if he wants that extra year. Not like the player options and no trade clauses that let some of these guys settle in and become comfortable.

  • jt

    hah i follow @sdunstonjr on twitter and he just said he heard a rumor that the cubs just picked up albert pujols. I wonder how many people are going to pick up on that and run with it since he’s a cubs prospect now.

    • jt

      hah, and now it looks like he’s removed that tweet… weird

      • jt

        Makes me wonder if the cubs don’t have someone monitoring all the twitter accounts of their prospects etc. and they told him to remove that shit pronto!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Fair thing to wonder.

        • LoneStarCub

          That would be pretty awesome if it had some truth to it. Coming from 1 1/2hr South East of STL. I would love to see the look on all of my family and friends faces..

           

    • john

      Pujols will not sign until after the Holidays

      • jt

        Yeah, I responded to his tweet and basically told him that verbatim… Basically said ‘If Albert signs before the meetings it would be with St. Louis’

  • Max

    http://swinginas.com/2011/11/29/as-2011-in-review-david-dejesus/. Look’s like A’s weren’t too pleased with DeJesus. But, I’m hopeful they’ll be eating crow next season. I do like this pick-up, especially if it’s part of a broader restructuring that includes the departure of Soriano.

  • john

    #1 He will wait and cause problems for clubs wanting him.
    #2 He is a Cardinal for life.
    #3 Nobody benefits from his late 30’s more than the Cardinals.
    #4 $200 million +

    • jtfromthed

      I agree!

  • die hard

    Born Dec 1979 makes him 32 next month. Has very little power, maybe 10 hr, and very little speed, maybe 10 SB. Last yr could be new normal for him, which was terrible. Defense maybe above average. Wheres he going to play? If this is what to expect from front office, Ricketts soon to have buyers remorse.

  • Barney S

    Love the addition of DeJesus. Nobody f’s with him. Now we need to move Soriano/Byrd. We also really need to get Pujols or Fielder though, need the (star) power. True story

  • Joe

    Is no one else sad at the thought of Reed Johnson possibly not being a Cub next year? This signing doesn’t bode well for him…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Reed is a highly likable player (and, if we don’t like the players, what exactly are we rooting for?), but I don’t believe his addition would make the 2012 Cubs appreciably better. I could still see a spot for him, though.

    • jtfromthed

      I liked Reed Johnson, but I love that the new regime doesn’t haven any emotional attachments to some of these guys like Hendry seemed to.

      Reed’s an excellent 4th outfielder and shouldn’t have a problem finding a job if they don’t bring him back to the cubs.

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