Happy Christmas Eve to all those out there celebrating tonight. Hope Santa doesn’t park his reindeer on your roof too loudly and wake you up tonight.
Now, back to baseball business. The Cubs have been very committed to their pursuit of outfielding this off season. While they’ve made more moves to fix the holes in pitching, outfielding remains a big question mark for the Cubs.
Nate Schierholtz was brought in on a cheap contract in order to fill some holes that the team already possessed. Alfonso Soriano is being shopped daily, and David DeJesus can fill the slot at center field.
That is, unless the Cubs decide to move DeJesus.
Wait a minute… don’t the Cubs need reliable outfielding? Why on earth would they move DeJesus?
While DeJesus had a good season last year going .264/.345/.403 as a leadoff man for the Cubs (and really only OBP matters when were talking about leadoff hitters,) he doesn’t exactly fit in to the Cubs’ long term plans. He was last year what Nate Schierholtz is this year: a cheap fill in.
DeJesus has 1 more year on his contract and then has a $6.5 million option in 2014 with a $1.5 million buyout should the Cubs chose to go that route (which is unlikely.)
Frankly, his performance was good enough to put him on the trade docket too. DeJesus embodied the ideal leadoff man who was likely to get on base and could see a lot of pitches. His mature approach at the plate is what made him so effective and balanced. And while he may have only hit 29 doubles, for a guy who’s only being paid $4.25 million a season? It’s a real bargain.
DeJesus isn’t going to be knocking anyone’s socks off anytime soon with power numbers, but his work ethic and respect in the clubhouse make him somewhat of a target for other teams.
Consider this: the commodities on the outfielding market right now are pretty slim now that Cody Ross signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Would you consider taking a player who will hit doubles at the leadoff position and get on base more than 3/10 times for only $4.25 million a season? Considering market conditions, it’s and even better bargain than before.
Clearly the Cubs wont part ways with DeJesus unless the right deal happens to fall in to their laps, but the OF market is hot and many teams would willing to part with more than he’s worth to take him.
An inflated market and a very appealing, low cost contract are what make DeJesus potential trade bait. A deal would only be done if there is a potential long-term gain for a short term loss in the outfield – and you can bet that guys like Dave Sappelt, Matt Szczur and Brett Jackson would be drooling over the chance to get some starting time for the Cubs (not to mention Jorge Soler coming up in a few years.)
Then again, with Epstein at the helm during this rebuild, no one is safe.