David DeJesus Rumors
David DeJesus is no stranger to hearing his name come up on the rumor mill. He was one of the more attractive trade chips on the July trade market in 2010 before he injured his hand and ultimately required surgery. That was poor timing for the Royals, who saw one of their best chips lose all its value. DeJesus was ultimately shipped to the A's in the offseason for Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks -- hardly the type of package they could've gotten in July when he was hitting .318/.384/.443.
The Cubs will soon find themselves in an uncannily similar situation with DeJesus. The 33-year-old is making $4.25MM this season with a $6.5MM club option for the 2014 season. Those salary figures are almost identical to DeJesus' $4.7MM 2010 salary and the $6MM club option included on that contract.
DeJesus is off to a strong start; he's hitting .274/.342/.500 with four homers and a pair of stolen bases. The power numbers aren't likely to continue to be so impressive, but DeJesus posted a .350 OBP last year and has turned in a .347 OBP or better in all but one season since debuting with the Royals in 2003. He's probably miscast as a center fielder at this stage of his career, but defensive metrics have typically been a fan of his work at a corner spot -- particularly left field.
He's not without his warts; DeJesus used to handle left-handed pitching fairly well, but he looks to be a strict platoon player as he enters his mid-30s. He has just one hit and a walk in 12 plate appearances against southpaws this season after hitting just .149/.289/.149 in 115 PAs against same-handed pitching for the Cubs in 2012.
Assuming history doesn't repeat itself with an untimely injury for DeJesus this summer, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer will likely have an attractive trade chip on his hands. DeJesus isn't the type of name you see in blockbuster summer deals, but he's an affordable, veteran on-base machine that could be a nice boost to a contender with a weak outfield alignment. The cheap club option makes him more than a rental, and teams like the Tigers, Rangers, Giants and White Sox could all have interest in DeJesus if their current left field options continue to falter. A reunion with the Royals would actually make loads of sense, as he could platoon with Jeff Francoeur, who is hitting .205/.241/.301 against right-handed pitching but .321/.367/.429 against lefties.
DeJesus isn't an elite bat, but given his history of strong OBP numbers and an affordable club option for 2014, I'd imagine he could net at least one of a trade partner's Top 10 prospects with another respectable piece in the deal as well.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Yankees are still looking for help at both corner infield spots and no shortage of veteran names have been mentioned in connection to the search. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter) wonders if New York would be interested in Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who "appears to be available." The Yankees have also been scouting Lyle Overbay, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports, and Overbay can opt out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox on Tuesday if he isn't on Boston's Major League roster. As of now, however, Cafardo believes Overbay would "probably" make the Red Sox.
Here's some more news from around baseball as we head into the weekend...
- One candidate the Yankees don't seem to be considering is Scott Rolen, according to Heyman, as the team "never really engaged" the veteran third baseman. Rolen is also "not on the radar" of the Dodgers, who are also looking for infield help in the wake of Hanley Ramirez's injury.
- The Twins "are not even thinking about" manager Ron Gardenhire's job security, a team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Minnesota has suffered consecutive last-place seasons but the club doesn't fault Gardenhire given how little he had to work with on the roster. Gardenhire is one of several managers and GMs entering the final years of their contracts in 2013.
- The Angels could re-sign Bill Hall to a new minor league contract, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. Hall was released earlier today and, if the Angels re-sign him after Tuesday, they won't have to pay the veteran utilityman a $100K bonus as an Article XX(B) free agent.
- Also from DiGiovanna (on Twitter), the Angels watched right-hander Adam Reifer throw a bullpen session today and could sign the former Cardinals prospect to a minor league deal. Reifer, 26, posted a 3.88 ERA, an 8.3 K/9 and a 2.47 K/BB rate over 204 1/3 IP (all out of the bullpen) in the Cards' system since 2008.
- Cubs outfielder David DeJesus stands out as a trade candidate for the Royals as a platoon partner with Jeff Francoeur, Rany Jazayerli of Rany On The Royals opines. Kansas City is known to be looking for a left-handed hitting complement to the right-handed hitting Francoeur in right field.
- The Mets are "going to go with the guys we have" in the outfield, GM Sandy Alderson tells Newsday's Marc Carig. Jordany Valdespin, Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are all fighting for playing time in the Mets' outfield this season.
Could Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton end up re-signing in the AL West? The answer to that question will have ramifications within the division and throughout the sport. Here are today’s AL West links...
- Texas GM Jon Daniels said the Rangers are looking at various options in free agency and on the trade market, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports. While Daniels isn't going to rush a move, the Rangers could strike soon.
- The Mariners are among the teams interested in free agent outfielder Cody Ross, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Seattle has been linked to just about every free agent bat as they attempt to add offense. So far the Mariners have agreed to a one-year, $1MM deal with Jason Bay.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests signing Hamilton wouldn’t solve all of the Mariners’ problems. If they aren’t prepared to increase spending up and down the roster, adding a player like Hamilton would not be the answer. Morosi suggests the Mariners might want to pursue a trade for David DeJesus of the Cubs.
The latest news from MLB as the countdown to next week’s Winter Meetings continues...
- Brian Cashman admitted to John Harper of the New York Daily News that he's often tempted by potential deals, but the Yankees' GM maintains that he's far from desperate this offseason. “We’ve got a really good team, so I don’t feel like I have to do something stupid,” Cashman said. “If I’m going to do something this winter, I have to feel good about it. I don’t care how big the name is.”
- The Orioles have been impressed by Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, Jon Heyman of SI.com reports (on Twitter).
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says he's still looking for starters and relievers, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times (on Twitter).
- Phillies officials tell ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that they have no knowledge of Jose Reyes’ recent presence in Philadelphia. The team isn’t considering a $100MM contract or anything close to it for any free agent, including Reyes, Stark reports.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says he doesn’t view the newly-acquired David DeJesus as a platoon player, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. DeJesus, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM deal today, may get days off against select left-handed starters, however.
- MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes discussed the Cubs’ offseason, including a potential Matt Garza trade, at Bleacher Nation. As Tim points out, Hoyer encountered a similar situation last offseason when he was weighing offers for Adrian Gonzalez.
The Cubs reached an agreement with outfielder David DeJesus, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It's a two-year deal, tweets MLB.com's Jane Lee. The Cubs confirmed the deal on Twitter, noting the inclusion of a club option for 2014. The contract guarantees $10MM, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets salary details. DeJesus will be the Cubs' regular right fielder. He makes his offseason home in Wheaton, Illinois, according to the Cubs' press release.
DeJesus, 31, had a disappointing offensive season for the Athletics after being traded from the Royals a year ago, hitting .240/.323/.376 in 506 plate appearances. In his Royals career, DeJesus hit .289/.360/.427 in 3,799 plate appearances. Despite his offensive struggles in 2011, DeJesus was worth over two wins last year according to FanGraphs, partially on account of strong right field defense. He's logged over 1,700 innings at each outfield position in the course of his nine-year career. DeJesus was offered arbitration by the A's last week, so they'll receive a supplemental draft pick in 2012 for their loss.
DeJesus marks the first signing under new Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. Epstein had interest in acquiring the outfielder for the Red Sox at the 2010 trade deadline until he tore a ligament in his thumb. DeJesus, an ACES client, ranked 29th on our top 50 free agents list, and I'm proud to say I actually predicted this one correctly in MLBTR's contest. With four of ten correct I rank 150th overall; six people are tied with six correct picks.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
All three of the Athletics’ starting outfielders hit free agency this offseason and with so much uncertainty surrounding the team's future, retaining the trio won't be easy. Here's the latest on the Athletics from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
- Agent Matt Sosnick told Slusser that the A’s “aren’t going to make an offer” to Josh Willingham unless they get a decision on their stadium situation first. It doesn’t appear that the A’s are currently able to offer a multiyear deal, according to Sosnick.
- Coco Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, has a similar take on Oakland’s willingness to spend and says GM Billy Beane is limited by the the team’s uncertain stadium situation. “It is difficult,” Comte told Slusser. “I feel bad for any organization that is in the quagmire the A's are in because they do have to overpay to get good players to go there.”
- Crisp is looking to play for a competitive West Coast team and the Giants are a “viable” option for him, according to Comte.
- Slusser reports that Oakland's interest in bringing Hideki Matsui back has cooled off.
- The A’s are expected to offer Willingham (Type A) and David DeJesus (Type B) arbitration, as Slusser notes.
The Athletics currently project for the ninth pick in next year's draft, though that could change by the end of Wednesday. The latest A's info, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
- Coco Crisp's agent Steve Comte agreed with Matt Sosnick's comments about the Athletics' offseason spending hinging on MLB's decision on the team's new stadium. Comte hasn't spoken to A's GM Billy Beane recently, but noted the long-term impact of the stadium issue was apparent back in Spring Training. Nonetheless, Crisp and his agent will keep an open mind and "see what the market brings." Crisp, 31, has a .267/.317/.384 line in 575 plate appearances, with 48 steals in 57 tries. It's been Crisp's healthiest year since '07, but he's posted his worst walk rate since '06. UZR suggests his defense was slightly below-average this year, but Crisp's ability to simply play a passable center field regularly makes him valuable. Given the state of the free agent market at the position, I think a two-year deal is probable. Slusser's sources expect the Giants to be interested.
- Signing Brandon McCarthy for a $1MM base salary was one of the best moves of the offseason, and the 28-year-old righty considers his season a successful comeback. For less than $2MM in total, he's provided a 3.32 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, and 46.7% groundball rate in 170 2/3 innings. His ERA ranks 13th in the American League and his five complete games tie him for second. The cherry on top: McCarthy is arbitration eligible for 2012 and should be affordable again.
- Slusser talked to A's outfielder David DeJesus, who said, "This year wasn't me. I want to break things down and understand what went wrong." DeJesus, 31, slipped to .237/.321/.374 in 502 plate appearances and may have been affected by losing his status as an everyday player. Slusser expects the Padres to be in the mix for the bounceback candidate, who will become a free agent shortly.
- Righty Rich Harden said he'd "definitely be open" to returning to the A's in 2012. The 29-year-old made all his starts since his July 1st season debut, posting a 5.12 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.85 HR/9, and 31.5% groundball rate in 82 2/3 innings.
- Hideki Matsui is not really proud of his numbers this year, the designated hitter told Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News through a translator. Matsui, 37, hit .251/.321/.376 in 576 plate appearances.
- In our latest Elias Rankings projections, Crisp, Harden, and Matsui projected for neither Type A nor B status, while DeJesus projected for Type B.
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.
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.
B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria and Casey Kotchman all homered for the Rays tonight as Tampa Bay defeated Boston, 9-2, in the opener of a big four-game series. The Red Sox now have just a three-game lead over the Rays (and a four-game lead over the idle Angels) for the AL Wild Card.
Some notes from around the league....
- If Drew Storen is traded, Tyler Clippard shouldn't become the Nationals' closer since he's proven to be invaluable as the team's go-to reliever, argues Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com. It could be a moot point, though, since Goessling says it's "unlikely" that the Nats deal Storen.
- The Rays were the first team to discover Jacoby Ellsbury, drafting him in the 23rd round of the 2002 draft. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal talks to the scouts who pushed for Tampa Bay to pick Ellsbury, who instead decided to attend Oregon State.
- Frank Wren tells David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that no decision has been made about Alex Gonzalez's future with the Braves, but both the club and the shortstop sound open to Gonzalez returning in 2012. Gonzalez is popular in the clubhouse and would be an ideal bridge at shortstop to prospect Tyler Pastornicky.
- Mike Newman of Fangraphs profiles Braves minor league left-hander Ronan Pacheco, who "is simply too perfect an example of a pitcher who bucks just about every prospect stereotype on both the statistical and scouting sides to not discuss."
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps this week's minor league transactions.
- David DeJesus "appears the least likely to return" of the Athletics' three free agent outfielders, writes MLB.com's Jane Lee. Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp are also free agents this winter and Willingham said earlier today that he would like to stay with Oakland.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register that he doesn't regret giving Bobby Abreu the $9MM option for 2012 that vested in July.