Chicago Cubs: Jon Jay proved to be a valuable spark for Joe Maddon
Chicago Cubs outfielder Jon Jay proved this year that, sometimes, under-the-radar signings are the best kind of move a team makes.
Jon Jay isn’t exactly a household name, so when he signed a one-year, eight-million dollar deal with the Chicago Cubs last winter, it got little attention from casual fans.
His signing also signified that Dexter Fowler would no longer be a Cub. After coming off of two injury-plagued seasons, Cubs fans seemed to be a little anxious about the deal. Now, Jay wasn’t Fowler’s replacement as the everyday leadoff hitter. The expectation going into the year was that he would be a platoon player in both center and left.
However, Jay had one of the best seasons of his career. In 141 games, Jay had a slash line of .296/.374/.375. Those are great numbers from a guy who isn’t exactly a power hitter.
The epitome of consistency at the plate
Since Jay wasn’t a. part of the World Series championship ride, it looks like he may have benefitted from not playing an extra month of baseball.
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In March and April, Jay came out red hot. He had a slash line of .385/.478/.965. Granted the sample size is small (20 games), but they’re still great numbers. In the first half, he slashed .300/.385/.400. In the second half there was a slight dip in his stats, .292/.366/.354, but that hardly warranted any concern.
He may not be a star defender, but the man only made three errors all season. Kyle Schwarber would be lucky if he managed to have less than three errors over the course of a weekend. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but you catch my drift.
Whatever Cubs needed, Jay delivered
The only reason why it wasn’t an A+ is because he never blew you out of the water with his performance; not like that was a reasonable expectation. Still, an ‘A’ for a one-year pickup is just the latest success story from Theo Epstein.
I’m not going to say the Cubs have to resign Jon Jay. It’s not really a must this offseason. The team needs to focus on pitching, period.
Also, even though he had a pretty good statistically season, according to Baseball Reference, the veteran outfielder is only a 1.1 WAR player.
I’m a big advocate for Albert Almora Jr. getting some more playing time, so if Jay left, you’d presume Almora would be in the lineup more.
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In conclusion, the Jon Jay signing was one that worked out almost perfectly for both sides – which is nice to see. Don’t be mad if decides to go elsewhere and make more money – just be happy he was a consistent member of a not-so-consistent 2017 Chicago Cubs.