There have been a great many players this season that could be classified as an important piece for the Cubs’ rebuilding process. Players like Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Jeff Samardzija rightfully get much of the attention as the process moves forward. One player who does not get the credit he deserves for the rebuilding process is outfielder, David DeJesus. The reason is likely because DeJesus will not be an integral part of the team once the rebuild is complete, if he is a part of the team at all. Looking forward, players like Jorge Soler and Albert Almora are going to make DeJesus an expendable piece within the next year or two, with his contract unlikely
to be extended when it expires, if he is not traded before it ends.
Drafted: 4th round, 2000 Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals
Debut: 9/2/2003 vs Texas Rangers. No official at-bat
Cubs’ Statistical Analysis:
Something that gets lost about David DeJesus is his stellar on-base percentage. As a lead-off hitter, DDJ trails only Norichika Aoki of the Brewers in OBP, which almost never gets talked about. After reaching four times today in the win against the Cardinals, where he provided the walk off hit, he raised his OBP to match his career average, of .355. What does get said, and not enough, is that he’ll give a good, professional at bat every time at the plate, and he plays a very nice outfield, whether it be in right, where he has spent the majority of the season, or in center, where he was stationed between the time Anthony Rizzo came up and the time Brett Jackson came up. DDJ had never stepped foot on Wrigley Field before this season, but you wouldn’t know it by the way #9 has played the hardest “9” in the National League. With all of the matinees at Wrigley, the sun is an adventure in right, but DeJesus has been outstanding, making tough plays look routine. He has been a steady force in an outfield with vastly improved defense over years past. None of the numbers blow anybody away, but all of them are solid for DeJesus, who is undervalued almost universally by those watching the Cubs day to day.
It is difficult to find a player who DeJesus compares to, but one player who immediately comes to my mind is former Cub, Angel Pagan. Like Pagan, DDJ doesn’t have great power, is versatile in the outfield, and plays smart baseball for nine innings just about everyday. Both players run pretty well, and neither player is appreciated for the value that he brings to a clubhouse as a veteran that will give you a good sound at bat and play very good defense.
The BIG Question:
Will David DeJesus be a part of the roster when the Cubs are “ready to win?”
Probably not. While DeJesus brings versatility, leadership, and a stabilizing influence to a young team, DDJ does not bring what you want in a corner outfielder. There is a chance that he hangs on in Chicago as a fourth or fifth outfielder who can play off the bench, like Reed Johnson. He will not, however, be a key piece to any winning ball club, much less the Cubs. What he can bring was displayed on May 12th in Miller Park. As a pinch hitter, DDJ turned around the first pitch he saw and deposited a grand slam in the right field bleachers. He can be a guy, off the bench, who brings good defense and a good at bat with occasional power. DeJesus could very well see himself traded this off-season, so it is up in the air whether or not he returns next season. It is ultimately going to be up to the front office to decide of the value he can bring back in a trade is greater than the value he offers as a veteran leader on a very young team. My prediction: DDJ is on the Opening Day 2013 roster. Whether he is on it when 2013 ends is anybody’s guess.
First and foremost, again, there has been some growing popularity with the number of page views. That’s awesome. Thank you to everyone who takes some time to check out some of the nonsense that I spew out here. It’s always great to know that people are actually looking at this!
Now, on to business. It appears that Starlin Castro and the team have worked out an extension for 7 years/ $60M dollars, which includes a $1M buyout for the 2020 season, if a $16M option is not exercised. Starlin is one of the key pieces of the rebuilding project and there is no doubt at all that the team wants him around now. I see this as a great move by the team, to lock up Castro before he goes to arbitration and avoid it altogether. With the leaps and bounds Starlin has made over the course of the last 2+ seasons in the majors, this deal could turn out to be an absolute bargain.
With the Castro deal getting done, the whispers of a Jeff Samardzija extension have begun. I think it is premature to extend him at this point. Jeff was very good in the second half of last season in a setup role, and he has been up and down as a starter this season. He appears to have figured it out a little bit more as the season has worn on, putting together some very good starts, but extending him right now carries a ton of risk. Personally, I would wait, and if at this time next season, Samardzija is putting up good outing after good outing, then I would go ahead and talk long term extension. Anything before that, in my mind, is premature. Whether Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer see it the same way remains to be seen. The starting pitcher I would be focusing on this off-season would be Matt Garza. There is no indication that his elbow has undergone significant damage, and it would be nice to have a starter with Garza’s stuff anchoring the staff for years (4-5) to come.
The Cubs have claimed LHP Alex Hinshaw off waivers from the Padres. To make room on the 40 man roster, Arodys Vizcaino was moved to the 60 day DL. The team has not announced a move to make room on the 25 man roster, but that will be done before tonight’s game at Milwaukee. I would anticipate that it is Jeff Beliveau, because he is a left handed reliever with options remaining. He would seem to be the most likely candidate at this point. Brooks Raley, who notched his first ML win on Saturday evening was sent back to Iowa, but he was the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader, so he was not the corresponding move to make room on the roster. Hinshaw is 29 years old and has spent time with the Padres and Giants. This season, he is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 outings, making his first MLB appearance since 2009 on May 9.
With news of Melky Cabrera being suspended for 50 games, effectively ending his season, Alfonso Soriano’s name has surfaced as an answer to who could replace Cabrera in San Francisco. For what it’s worth, Soriano said no in July before the non-waiver deadline because of the dimensions of AT&T Park. Soriano has cleared waivers this month and is eligible to be traded to any team. That was expected because of the size of Soriano’s contract, and the amount of money left on it. I would be surprised if Soriano was dealt to the Giants this month for that same reason. The ballpark has not changed out there, and the weather conditions making it very tough to hit the ball out have not changed. Those factors lead me to believe that Soriano’s decision on going to San Francisco probably has not changed.
The Cubs are in the midst of a serious reconfiguration of the front office, letting Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita go today. Fleita was responsible for the additions of Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol, and in part, Jorge Soler. The reconfiguration of the front office is not a surprise. Fleita being let go is a surprise, to some extent, as he was given a contract extension last September, before the Epstein/ Hoyer administration began. Also let go was baseball information manager Chuck Wasserstrom. Theo Epstein said today that front office changes would be continued, leading to a larger front office than before, when all is said and done. It makes sense that there would be changes coming about now, as the transition period is effectively over after about 10 months. Bringing in his own personnel was expected. The most interesting comment out of the front office today was that Assistant GM Randy Bush is in “good standing.” I am somewhat surprised at that, as he was Jim Hendry’s assistant. Obviously, Bush has shown that he is compatible with the new front office, or the new front office likes the different perspective offered by Bush.
From today’s game: David DeJesus had a 4-4 game with his first two home runs at Wrigley Field. Overall, DDJ reached 5 times, including his first intentional walk of the season. Brett Jackson had a triple, and his first major league RBI, and a double, which were his first two career MLB extra base hits. Starlin Castro went deep for the 12th time this season. Carlos Marmol locked up another game in a non-save situation in the 7-2 win, clinching a series win against the Astros and a 3-4 homestand. Anthony Rizzo did not have the best day at the plate, but his defense was, again, outstanding, contributing to four double plays on the afternoon, including the bizarre one to end the top of the 7th inning. Starting pitcher, Justin Germano was excellent today, going 6.1 innings, giving up 2 earned on 5 hits with one walk. For the Astros, Marwin Gonzalez grounded into three double plays.