Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

david dejesus cubsIt feels a little odd to sit down with the intention of writing a “farewell” post to David DeJesus.

For one thing, the guy might be back after the season, and, for another, he’s still in Chicago, sitting in the other dugout. But the main reason it feels odd is that DeJesus, although a starter, was something of a role player on a couple very bad Cubs teams. He put up decent numbers, but nothing that would win him any awards. He wasn’t even here two years, and he was signed on a short-term deal to be a complementary veteran presence. This isn’t Derrek Lee or Carlos Zambrano or Ryan Dempster or Aramis Ramirez or Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Marmol departing. It isn’t even Jim Hendry.

David DeJesus has no connection with the Cubs of our recent memory, and yet I’m compelled to offer a melancholy farewell. Why is that?

Easy. In his short time with the Cubs, DeJesus quickly and completely won the affections of the fans, his teammates, the coaching staff, and the front office. Go about your business with a good attitude? Check. Work hard all year long? Check. Focus intensely during the game while still keeping your teammates up? Check. Grind at bats and put up solid, if unspectacular, numbers befitting your contract? Check. Change positions when asked without a peep? Check. Be an all-around solid player and teammate? Check.

DeJesus accomplished quite a bit in his not-quite two years with a bad Cubs team, and that’s why it doesn’t feel completely odd to write a “farewell” to David DeJesus. He isn’t Derrek Lee or Carlos Zambrano or Ryan Dempster or Aramis Ramirez or Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Marmol, and he wasn’t brought in by Jim Hendry.

Actually, he was the first guy brought in by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Maybe that’s part of the feeling, too.

The “reason” for a trade rarely fits inside a nicely square box. That is especially true when you’ve got a trade that, at first blush, is difficult to explain for either side, as this trade initially was. In the end, it was probably about the money. And the roster spot. And seeing more of Brian Bogusevic and Ryan Sweeney. And about the possibility of getting DeJesus back for a lesser price. And about the PTBNL or cash.

That collective “reason” produces a little cognitive dissonance when discussing a guy like DeJesus, for all the laudatory traits discussed above. We like DeJesus. We think he was a good part of the team. We enjoyed watching him play, which is, after all, what baseball is all about: enjoying the game. So, separating ourselves momentarily from the perfectly reasonable justifications for making the trade, we feel a bit bummed. That’s OK to admit, even as part of your brain starts cooly calculating what the Cubs can do with the $2.5 million they saved, who the PTBNL might be (if there’s a PTBNL at all), and how the Cubs might get DeJesus back on a much cheaper deal.

Sometimes we’re too quick – I certainly am – to intellectually turn players in assets and assets into contracts and contracts into inputs and inputs into statistics and statistics into future production. There’s nothing wrong with doing that dance – it has its time and place – but it’s also OK to step back and think about the players that make the game worth watching in the first place.

And that’s when I think about David’s wife, Kim. It’s rare that a fan base feels like it got to know a player’s significant other – outside of a sleazy slideshow, I mean – and I’m very glad that Cubs fans got to know a little bit of Kim. It wasn’t just that she was funny or beautiful. She offered a lens through which we could view David DeJesus, the man. (The very lucky man.) Kim’s active, accessible presence on social media humanized her husband in a way fans rarely get to see. He played with his son. He went shopping. He had a wife who was nervous about him getting traded. He was a real person.

That real person lived in some Cubs laundry for a while, and now he’s living in another team’s laundry. Dealing him was a rational, reasonable thing to do. Being a little bummed about it may not be rational or reasonable, but it’s a part of being a fan.

Best of luck the rest of the year to the DeJesuses. Thanks for the fun, and we’ll see you when we see you.

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