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Chicago Cubs sign Chris Denorfia to a one-year deal

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The Chicago Cubs added veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal worth approximately $2.5 million Wednesday, adding a potent bat against southpaws and a notoriously solid clubhouse presence in the process.

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Denorfia, 34, struggled last season between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, batting just .230/.284/.318 in just over 300 plate appearances – but has been very good against left-handers during his big league career. In nine seasons, Denorfia has a .292/.358/.430 clip against lefties – which works well for Chicago, given the team’s likely left fielder Chris Coghlan batted just .247 against left-handers in 2014 (as opposed to a .294 clip against right-handers).

His best years came not so long ago, as a member of the Friars in 2012 and 2013. Between the two campaigns, he combined to hit .285/.340/.419 in 274 games, adding 18 home runs and 83 RBI. He also hit 40 doubles and eight triples, while swiping 24 bags and only being caught eight times. Last season, he struggled, but in a platoon role – namely against left-handers – he gives Chicago a cost-controlled option to replace the departed Justin Ruggiano, who was traded to the Mariners earlier this offseason.

The former 19th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds can play all three outfield positions, which only increases his value to a team like Chicago, that is looking to shore up on outfield depth. Currently, the club has the likes of Coghlan, Ryan Sweeney, Arismendy Alcantara, Junior Lake and Jorge Soler vying for spots in the outfield, with Matt Szczur also looking to make the big league club next spring.

Soler, Alcantara and Coghlan are all projected as the starting three and with the addition of Denorfia, the likes of Sweeney, Szczur and Lake may be destined for Triple-A Iowa – at least to open the season. All saw limited action last season with Chicago, but primarily spent the 2014 season in the Minor Leagues.

Denorfia has appeared in at least 121 games in each of the last three seasons and has played in at least 100 contests annually dating back to 2010, when he appeared in 99 games.

Next: What will the Cubs get from Soler, Baez in 2015?

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