Free Agent Stock Watch: David DeJesus

When the Athletics acquired David DeJesus last winter, the outfielder's stock was at a high. Although he appeared in only 91 games in 2010, DeJesus posted career highs in average (.318), OBP (.384), and OPS (.827), and played his usual solid corner outfield defense. Unfortunately for the A's, DeJesus has followed up that performance with perhaps the worst season of his career. In 125 games with Oakland, the 31-year-old has hit .236/.322/.369, his OPS dropping nearly 140 points from a year ago.

AAH110506105_Athletics_v_Royals It's likely little consolation to the A's that the main piece they traded for DeJesus, young right-hander Vin Mazzaro, took a step back this year in Kansas City. Mazzaro still has time to turn things around for the Royals, while DeJesus figures to become a free agent in a matter of weeks.

As our latest Elias projections show, DeJesus comfortably ranks as a Type B, so he won't cost a draft pick even if he turns down arbitration. Of course, with a salary of $6MM this year, DeJesus might be a good bet to accept an arbitration offer, given this season's performance. The payroll-conscious A's could probably only offer arb to the outfielder if he agreed to decline it in order to net them a draft pick. Either way, DeJesus figures to hit the open market.

This year's class of outfielders isn't particularly stacked, so despite his down year, DeJesus should draw interest. His batting average on balls in play (.271) is 45 points below his career mark, and his walk rate (9.1%) matches a career high, suggesting that he's a candidate to bounce back. It wouldn't be the first time he came back strong after a disappointing year – he followed up a subpar 2007 season (.722 OPS) by hitting .307/.366/.452 in 2008.

So what sort of contract could make sense for both DeJesus and an interested team? Carlos Pena's deal with the Cubs could be an interesting comparison. The two are very different players, and DeJesus won't earn the $10MM the Cubs are paying Pena for a year of his services, but their career trajectories are similar. Pena entered free agency for the first time last year coming off his worst season, and elected to sign a one-year deal, presumably in hopes of rebuilding his value and landing a multiyear contract this coming winter. The approach seems to have worked – Pena's OPS has jumped 100 points in Chicago this season, setting him up nicely for the offseason.

For DeJesus, a one-year deal playing in a better hitter's park than Oakland's could be the most effective way to rebuild his value and earn a bigger payday down the road. Given the outfielder's promising peripheral numbers, the team that signs him could very well be getting solid value for 2012.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

29 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: David DeJesus Leave a Reply

  1. Table 4 years ago

    The left handed Dejesus has been as good as ever against right handers, however he has flailed against left handers in 2011.

    VS RH Career .292 .368 .447 BABIP .323
    VS RH 2011   .263 .358 .428 BABIP .293

    VS LH Career .264 .328 .360 BABIP .301
    VS LH 2011   .168 .223 .218 BABIP .211

    • Table 4 years ago

      VS RH Career 8.9 BB% 13.1 K% .154 ISO
      VS RH 2011 10.4 BB% 14.6 K% .164 ISO

      VS LH Career 7.2 BB% 13.8 K% .097 ISO
      VS LH 2011   5.3 BB% 22.9 K% .050 ISO

  2. green_and_gold 4 years ago

    I hope the A’s let him walk and net a draft pick.  I would rather see what Taylor or Carter can do in the majors.  They have been in AAA long enough.  Carter can struggle, so I hope he can get a full year of ABs so that he can go through his up and downs. They should stand by him, just like they have with Allen so far.

    Allen/Carter/Willingham would be a lot of power in the lineup.  

  3. vtadave 4 years ago

    Unless they have a gentlemen’s agreement with DeJesus to decline arbitration, no way he gets tendered.

    He’s headed to the Giants – 5 yrs, $60 million

    • You’re 100% correct on that one sabean is still fapping to him crashing into that wall and destroying his thumb last year.  That right there is the type of grit and veteran presence that makes brain dead idiots like sabean go crazy he’ll be a giant without a doubt and probably hitting lead off for at least 300 PA’s rowand style.

  4. j6takish 4 years ago

    I’ve always liked him for Detroit. We have OBP issues in the top of our lineup and DeJesus has been a criminally underrated player most of his career. However, the city of Detroit seems to be in love with Delmon Young so even though DeJesus is a much more well rounded player, we’re going to throw money away based on 5 weeks of Delmon Young not being terrible.

    • Matt Moore 4 years ago

      Delomon Young is a baby compared to DeJesus. 5 years younger. I always go for the younger players with the most potintial so…

      • chico65 4 years ago

        If he was an alchemist maybe he could turn that “potintial” into a silver slugger or two

    • Jeff6851 4 years ago

      I love you for this, I can’t stand Delmon Young love. He is really not that great and everyone wants to see him running around the outfield, letting easy popups drop and letting 2 runs score on a line drive double that everyone else could keep to a single. All so that he can hit the solo homerun later and we only lose by two.

  5. Slopeboy 4 years ago

    De Jesus has too much talent to put up those weak numbers again. Surrounded by better players would revive him once more.Playing for a team where he is not a main focus would allow him to just contribute and flourish, bring out his talents once more. A contending team could register a steal by signing him to a short term, incentive laden deal.           

  6. Bob George 4 years ago

    Carlos Pena isn’t getting a multi-year deal.

    • jb226 4 years ago

      I have no trouble envisioning him getting 2-3 years, particularly as a significantly cheaper option to Fielder or Pujols.

      Though a lot of teams would probably be hesitant about it, I’d love to see him in a platoon with somebody who mashes lefties.

      • daveineg 4 years ago

        Pena has some value but teams missing out on Fielder and Pujols will not settle for Pena.  If they have the kind of money to get involved in Fielder and Pujols, they’ll look to use it for an actual upgrade at some other position rather than settle for what is at best average production at 1B.

        Pena figures to get another 1 year deal in the $6-7 million range.

  7. baybombers 4 years ago

    talk about a bad year

  8. nathanalext 4 years ago

    Reds? It seems like a typical Dusty/Jocketty move.

    • If the Reds don’t believe Alonso can play LF, DeJesus would be a good fit.  He’d bat leadoff, sliding Phillips to #2 in front of Votto.

  9. I wish I could rebuild my value for 10 MM.

  10. Lack of power and declining defense will never get him a deal close to 10 million.  The A’s will not offer him arb because they have the same player in Ryan Sweeney who hits the same and better defense.

    • Sweeney’s a cheaper alternative for a poor team, but he’s not even close to the same hitter as DeJesus except for this year. Sweeney’s OPS+ in his three full MLB seasons: 99, 99, 92.  DeJesus’ OPS+ in his last four seasons: 118, 107, 127, 91.  DeJesus isn’t old (32 next year) and will likely rebound.

  11. johnsilver 4 years ago

    I always saw this type of player (OF) as the perfect 4th OF. No power, little speed, not a GG defender, nor a plus defender really at any OF position and doesn’t really like to take a walk.

    Not a starter on a play off caliber team that anyone would go out and give any kind of fairly decent money to on the best of seasons as a FA.

    6m would be a serious overpay. His team mate CoCo Crisp (the perfect 4th OF) would be superior to this guy and draw more interest if he were available this season as a FA.

    • Crisp’s the better player because of his position (DeJesus can’t play CF regularly anymore, if he ever could) and his superior speed, but his lack of durability hurts his value considerably.

      That said, DeJesus could definitely help the right team at the top of the batting order.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting somewhere next year – Atlanta, Cincinnati, Arizona, and Minnesota (off the top of my head) could all use him.

    • Pete 4 years ago

      I wouldn’t qualify “The perfect 4th OF” as a guy who leads the AL in SBs and plays quality defense. Coco Crisp has the same WAR as a Adam Jones this year. You are way off and still believing he’s same guy he was in Boston and KC, he’s not. He’s the guy he was with the Indians, a very good CF.

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Crisp can still play every OF position am pretty sure, one wouldn’t forget how to do that over the last couple of years and the injury issue is the last couple of seasons when he was pretty much injury free throughout the rest of his previous career.

        IMO, the worst part (and huge negative as always) for Crisp is his horrible Johnny Damon like arm as a CF. crisp can get to balls in CF virtually no one else can, but getting them back to the IF with runners on base s an entirely different matter.

        As for WAR rankings and Adam Jones.. yet another flaw with those rankings. Not that entirely disagree with them, but really doubt anyone would think that Jones is the player (yet at least) all around that Crisp is.

      • Table 4 years ago

        didn’t Crisp play allot of LF with the Indians….?

  12. Pete 4 years ago

    Other than Frank Thomas, the A’s always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to obtaining players. It seems a LOT more players have their career worst years with Oakland rather than career best. Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye come to mind as players who went on to outstanding years when they left Oakland. DeJesus will probably do the same.

    • daveineg 4 years ago

      The  ballpark with the massive foul territory doesn’t help.

      • fpsantangeloswingman 4 years ago

        DeJesus’s home/away splits are similar, except that he has more than twice as many RBIs at home than away. Though I have nothing to support my theory, I think DeJesus has Matt Holiday syndrome–he’s on a team he doesn’t want to play for, and isn’t interested in putting in the effort.

  13. He might sign with the Mets depending on what happens with Angel Pagan, Willie Harris, and Scott Hairston next year.

    • Mets will have Bay and Duda in LF and RF.  DeJesus can’t play CF every day, especially with a big outfield to cover and poor defensive OFs on either side of him.  They need someone to cover a ton of ground.  They might take a run at Coco Crisp but will likely go cheaper by offering Angel Pagan arbitration (he’ll probably get $5M).

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