Former Cubs outfielder Jon Jay retires after 12-year MLB career

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

If I told you that Jon Jay carries the all-time best fielding percentage among MLB outfielders, you’d think I was crazy, right? That’s a nice feather in the cap for Jay, who, after 12 years in the big leagues, is hanging up his spikes and calling it a career.

In just under 8,400 innings in the outfield, Jay racked up a .9958 fielding percentage – which narrowly edges out Darrin Erstad for the best in baseball history. Just 776 1/3 of those innings came in a Cubs uniform, but it’s still worth appreciating regardless.

Of course, Jay played for Chicago back in 2017, appearing in 141 games and batting .296/.374/.375 while filling a critical role in the outfield following the departure of Dexter Fowler via free agency in the offseason. The advanced metrics weren’t particularly kind to his time on the North Side, but at the end of the day, he definitely pulled his weight.

Prior to coming to the Cubs, Jay is definitely best known for his tenure in St. Louis. The Cardinals drafted him out of the University of Miami in the second round back in 2005 and he made his big league debut with the club in 2010, immediately making an impact for the Redbirds, batting .300 in his first taste of MLB action.

Never one to hit for power, Jay was a stable presence for St. Louis for more than a half-decade, winning a World Series in 2011, and finishing his stint with the club with a .287/.354/.384 line. Following the 2015 campaign, the Cardinals traded Jay to San Diego for infielder Jedd Gyorko, and after just one year with the Padres, he latched on with Chicago on a one-year pact.

After the season, Jay latched on with the Royals heading into 2018 but was traded in-season yet again. In the final years of his career, he spent time in Kansas City, Arizona, Chicago (the White Sox, not the Cubs) and then the Angels.

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He was always one of those guys who kind of flew under the radar, but he was a quality piece on that 2017 Cubs team that gutted out a third consecutive NLCS appearance despite running on fumes following their World Series run in 2016.