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Today the Chicago Cubs introduced outfielder David DeJesus to the media, and the new Cub was both enthusiastic and complimentary.

“[The Cubs are] one of the most storied franchises in the game,” DeJesus said, adding that coming to the Cubs is “an opportunity you can’t beat.”

DeJesus thinks of himself as a reliable hard-worker, and hopes Cubs fans come to appreciate that. He knows fan and teammate support is not something to take for granted, and believes it’s up to him to play hard and earn that support.

“[I think of myself as] a guy that’s reliable. When my name is on the lineup sheet … [I’m] a guy that’s gonna come and play his best out there and give it 100%.”

DeJesus, who believes last year was not a reflection of his true ability, spoke of his approach when leading off, and how he views it as an opportunity to help the team in a number of ways.

“Leading off the game you want to see pitches for the guys behind you,” he said. “You want to see what the pitcher has that day …. My job is to set the tone of the game. Get on base anyhow, walks, hit by pitches, base hits preferably. Hustle and give life to the team.”

DeJesus addmitted that he didn’t know much about his new manager, Dale Sveum, so he turned to Wikipedia. I’m sure he was thinking Bleacher Nation, too, but didn’t want to destroy our servers with a mention. Wikipedia can handle the load.

All in all, DeJesus sounds like the kind of player who could challenge Mark DeRosa in terms of sheer (rational or irrational) likability – especially if he bounces back to his pre-2011 performance.

Speaking of which, over the past day, there have been a number of interesting takes on the DeJesus signing.

Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer is, obviously, a fan.

“We feel David’s a player that does a lot of things real well,” Hoyer said. “He hits right-handed pitching very well; he’s a strong defender in right field who runs the bases well. He doesn’t strike out. All those are areas we’re looking to improve on the club.”

Hoyer sees DeJesus as a bounce back candidate, and not a strict platoon player, despite his extreme platoon splits.

“We don’t see him as a platoon player. Does that mean he won’t get days off against tough lefties? I’m sure we’ll try to provide that support and flexibility for Dale [Sveum] but we’re not signing [DeJesus] as a platoon player …. One thing you try to do whenever you acquire players is have a broader lens than just the previous year. With David, he was one of the most sought after players in the trade market in 2010 before he hurt his thumb. We feel very good that he’ll come into Chicago and bounce back.”

The Hardball Times offers a saber-stacked take on DeJesus, concluding that, on the conservative side, he’ll be “worth” as much as $20 to $25 million over the next two years. That’s a lot for a guy the Cubs just got for $10 million. A sampling of their take on DeJesus’s “bad” 2011 season:

Let’s begin by looking at DeJesus and his contract. First off, he is coming off his second-worst year in the majors since his rookie season. He only batted .240/.323/.376 (.309 wOBA), which is what enabled the Cubs to sign him so cheap in the first place.

However, even with such a poor batting line, DeJesus was still worth +2.2 WAR last season. Thanks to strong outfield defense (career +6 UZR/150 defender in the corners) and above-average base running (as measured by UBR) abilities (this despite being a career 51-for-97 base stealer), DeJesus is still an above-average major league player when his bat disappoints and he only plays 130 of his team’s 162 games.

Accord to the world according to xBABIP, DeJesus was pretty unlucky with his balls in play in 2011. His .274 BABIP last year was a career low (by .015 points), and despite an uptick in strikeouts (17.0 percent compared to a career rate of 13.4 percent), DeJesus continued to drive the ball with authority (20.2 percent line drive rate). The result was an expected BABIP of .309, which was a full .035 points ahead of his actual results.

If we adjust DeJesus’ batting line to reflect his xBABIP-based “true talent” line, then we should have expected him to hit .268/.347/.388 (.735 OPS) last season. Using his career BABIP rate (.316) in lieu of xBABIP, we could have expected a marginally better batting line of .273/.352/.393 (.745 OPS).

On the flip side, ESPN’s Kristina Kahrl offers a more pessimistic take:

First, DeJesus had an awful 2011. You can blame that on the BABIP fairy if such is your inclination: He put up a career-low .274 average on balls in play, against his career average of .316. You can try to blame the always-tough Coliseum a little bit, although he had an equally miserable season on the road, with a .701 OPS away from Oakland against his .695 OPS at home. Whatever Oakland’s rep, he also wasn’t fouling out at a more prodigious rate.

What’s really troubling is that DeJesus was striking out at a career-worst 17 percent clip in 2011, more than three points worse than his next-worst campaign in the last six seasons. Dig into the data, and he was proving increasingly susceptible to off-speed stuff from right-handers when he wasn’t simply being owned by lefties. Maybe the Cubs see something they can fix, instead of just banking that $10-15 million on mere regression.

Second, DeJesus doesn’t actually walk that much. He’s patient, and he will be patient — for a Cub. He’ll be the walk-iest Cub this side of Geovany Soto, but his career walk rate of 8.3 percent is just a hair below the MLB average (8.5).

On the balance, I find the “bounce back” argument fairly compelling, and see value in DeJesus, defensively and on the base paths (not steals, mind you, but base running), that makes the signing a worthwhile go, even if you’re troubled by the down 2011 and the increased K rate.

And, to complete the Lebowski circle:

  • Katie

    That picture is awesome!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you. Obviously the idea popped into everyone everwhere’s head, but mine is – to my knowledge – the first photoshop. Boom. Hubris’d.

  • chris margetis

    Just saw him at the Cubs merch store across from Wrigley. I was there for season ticket upgrade day and he and his extremely attractive wife were there with a Cub office employee. Also stood at the corner of Clark and Addison and Theo and another employee walked across from Wrigley. I heard them discussing something about a trade but couldn’t eavesdrop well enough to get any info. I would have passed it along for a scoop Brett!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well thanks for nothing, jerk.

      • chris margetis

        My sincerest apologies, my investigative reporter hat was off at the time, I was still thinking about DeJesus’ wife.

        • hansman1982

          We need to convince her to get nekkid after every game for David if he hits a HR and bundle up in a parka after every game where he doesn’t go 2-5 or better.  David DeJesus for 2012 MVP!

          • Deer

            just follow her twitter..any hot chick who tweets that much is bound to post at least a half-nekkid pic before too long.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Excusable.

    • die hard

      thats no scoop…Yesterday suggested he would be packaged in a trade

  • chris margetis

    Interesting note on the Theo sighting, I did hear him mention to the gentleman he was talking (the guy had a fu manchu if anyone would know who he is) to be very cautious (I assumed when it came to prospects) because many of the scouts he had come across throughout the years “just weren’t very good”.

    • TWC

      Fu Manchu mustache?  Kinda like this?

      • chris margetis

        even more Fu than that. All the way down to the chin.

        • TWC

          Damn.

          Tidrow, we hardly knew ye.

          • die hard

            So Theo to bring in Tidrow, is that the latest rumor?….time will tell

            • TWC

              You’re adorable, kid.

              And wait ’til the rest of this place finds out I’m BetterNews’ source, too.  Heads will roll.

              • Katie

                I have suspected as much all along. That or his Magic 8 ball. Of crack.

        • hardtop

          was it goose?

  • Katie

    Very interesting Chris! That’s cool you have season tickets too. I sure wish I did!

  • Rob

    If DeJesus plays 130-140 games and gets on base at a .350ish clip while playing solid defense, I’d say he’s done his job. Someone posted yesterday Castro’s numbers batting one through three in the lineup, and he’s actually a few points higher in the two hole, so slotting DeJesus at leadoff with Castro behind him wouldn’t be a bad way to start a game, particularly if the Fielder/Pujols rumors bear fruit.

    • hansman1982

      Lets enter fantasy land for a minute:

      Step 1: The NL has the DH

      Step 2: Sign Pujols AND Fielder

      Step 3: Lineup of DeJesus, Castro, Fielder, Pujols, Headley, Byrd, Jackson, Barney

      Step 4: Carlos Zambrano is sane

      Step 5: Dempster regains 2008 form

      Step 6: Dominate NL Central all year

      Step 7: Get swept in 1st round of playoffs

      Step 8: Sveum wants MOAR LH bats

      Step 9: See 2008-2009 offseason

      Step 10: Cubs suck again.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Excellent use of MOAR.

        • EQ76

          Who’s playing catcher in your fantasy lineup?

          • hansman1982

            oh, ya, I guess I need one of those…1935 Gabby Hartnett

  • die hard

    For what its worth, SCR last hour panned this move….Would rather commit $15 mil to developing or acquiring kids….strike one against this front office…two more to go

    • DRock

      die hard, you are getting close to converting me…I’m with SCR on this one. A one year deal would have been better if we felt like we HAD to sign DeJesus.

    • Kyle

      Of course, with the new CBA, the amount they can spend on “acquiring and developing kids” is pretty much capped. But I wouldn’t expect the WSCR guys to know that, because they barely know how to show up at the studio and put on a radio show every day. Anything else is beyond their expertise.

      • JulioZuleta

        He is better than Fukudome at 1/3rd the price. This is not a bad deal whatsoever. Even if he doesn’t work out, or we go after someone else, this is an easily tradeable contract.

      • Rancelot

        WSCR = Neanderthal Nation

        The mouth-breather hosts are too busy cracking jokes and self promoting their schtick to fully understand their “views” on how to build a team.

        Do yourself a favor and stop listening to the radio (a medium that hasn’t been relevant for over a decade) and cuddle up to Bleacher Nation!

  • Cubbies4Life

    Well, OF COURSE DeJesus has a hot wife! Have you taken a good look at HIM??? Am I right, ladies (not including you, diehard)?

    • Katie

      Two words to describe DeJesus: yum yum.

      • Ashley

        I do not hate the way that man looks!!!! Just hope he plays well for us as well!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If he plays well, I will gladly confess that he’s crazy good looking.

          • Katie

            Agreed. And only a very secure man can make a comment like that.

            • die hard

              So, thats it…Front office had a man crush on him….their criteria for new players interesting….cant wait to see who gets a contract next

              • EQ76

                yippiekyyah mutha f**ka!

              • hansman1982

                Brad Pitt as our #1 Starter

  • Cubbies4Life

    True dat, Ashley.

  • john

    Kelly Johnson and Pena production matches Barney and Fielder/Pujols.
    Money may be same or less (20 mil 2+ opt) annually
    but commitment is shorter by 6-7 years

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Why go get Kelly Johnson when you have D.J. LeMahieu?

      • ferrets_bueller

        I love that someone mentioned Lemahieu. I hate when we see a discussion of 2b or 3b and he’s never mentioned…I’d love to see him get a shot at 3B this year, lazy Vitters be damned.

  • http://rooftop-view.com Jack Nugent

    All told, I’m really pleased with the DeJesus signing, but interestingly enough, Kristina Karhl is about the only person I’ve heard emphasize his career high K% last year. Not only did he strikeout more than ever last year, he also made less contact than any other year of his career– career low Contact%, career high SwStr%.

    DeJesus is a very good bet to be worth more than the guaranteed $10MM he got, but we should be careful not to let our expectations get out of control. He’s a solid player. This deal is a lot like Marlon Byrd deal. Marlon is a good, not great player. Of course, Byrd plays CF, but DeJesus is a little better hitter, so it isn’t the end of the world that he’s stuck in a corner.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The comparison to the Byrd signing (not so much to Byrd as a player, but the signing) is a good one. Solid player. Cheap-ish contract. Necessary part. Not a stud.

  • john

    Would it be so bad if we had a lineup of
    Dejesus Castro Cespedes K. Johnson Pena Byrd Barney Soto

  • Deer

    The DeJesus/Byrd comp looks accurate, except Byrd came off a much better year before signing with the Cubs. It will be bad if we get the 2011 DeJesus, he HAS to be close to the 2008-2009 version. Also, we don’t need more Marlon Byrd types.

  • bleacher912

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Huston Street in cubbie blue. I could look at him all day.

    • hansman1982

      That may be, but does he have a hot wife

  • Katie

    I only have one problem with his wife. She tweeted that she had a poster of RYAN Sandberg on her wall growing up. She had it pointed out by someone and was appropriately sheepish.

    • TWC

      Yeah, I saw that.  I got pretty turned off, too, about how she was having a hard time tweeting while getting her mani-pedi.  Whatevs.  Bimbos be bimbos.

      • die hard

        how did this site go from baseball to a kardashian type kvetch fest?.. baseball only…no need for that other stuff here…besides, how do you think players and wives feel to be discussed that way?….is one thing to criticize players baseball skills…thats business…other stuff off limits especially wives…all of you who discuss such matters…shame on you…clean it up

        • Katie

          Oh so you’re the Morality Police now? What did anyone say that was so terrible? She’s the one tweeting this stuff. You put it out there for public consumption you get what you get. Blow it out your ass.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            He is the solitary voice against the she-view series preview, what did you expect?

            • T C

              It would appear that Brett’s theory that this die hard troll is different from the original one who hated the she-views is completely shot….

  • die hard

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