Sizemore and DeJesus may be options for Cubs in OF

Sizemore and DeJesus may be options for Cubs in OF
Grady Sizemore

The Cubs will be looking to upgrade their defense this season and one place to do it is in the OF.  Now that's currently where Alfonso Soriano resides and there's the problem of 3 yrs and $54M to deal with.

The free agent crop for OF'ers is rather thin.  Two of the top names, Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham, aren't a whole lot better on defense than Soriano is.  There are two candidates, however, that could upgrade that LF play.  The first is Grady Sizemore and the second is David DeJesus.

Sizemore is the bigger risk of the two.  He also presents the bigger potential reward. He had a microfracture in his knee, similar to Carlos Beltran, and he hasn't played well now for two seasons.  For the Cubs, though, that may provide an opportunity to approach him about a short term, make-good contract.

Sizemore's days as a 5 tool centerfielder are probably behind him.  A move to LF is probably a good idea at this point so that he doesn't have to cover as much ground and put more wear and tear on the knee.  He has also simply lost a step, and while he cannot be a top shelf CF'er, it's reasonable to expect him to play well enough in LF.

At the plate, Sizemore inexplicably lost all semblance of patience.  His walk rate was at just 6% as opposed to about 11% in his career before 2011.  His ISO power was a respectable .198, down about 6 points from his career average, but close enough to where it's reasonable that he could rebound in that area.  The hope is that you get a guy who can play a solid LF, get on base, and hit for some power.  That would make him an upgrade over Soriano.

Another, less risky option, is David DeJesus.  DeJesus is an outstanding defensive corner outfielder and, while he had an off year at the plate, he's a career .284/.356/.421 hitter.  The slugging would represent a dropoff from Soriano, but DeJesus is better in every other category.  It's a tradeoff that makes sense for the Cubs.  What little they lose in offensive production, they more than make up for on defense and OBP skills.   To use a more all encompassing measure, DeJesus actually had a higher WAR than Soriano (2.2 vs. 1.3) despite his worst offensive season in years.

Either player would upgrade LF on defense without much of a dropoff on offense.  Neither is expected to be all that expensive.  Sizemore may be willing to sign a make good, incentive laden contract while DeJesus is coming off an off year.  Either could be the last piece on the makings of a good defensive outfield with Jackson and Byrd.

Of course, the Cubs will have decide what to do with Soriano's big contract first.

Filed under: Cubs Rumors, Free Agency

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  • Soriano's contract is a sunk cost. Get what you can for him, if not this offseason, then by next one for sure.

    Both Sizemore and DeJesus are intriguing. If the Cubs sign a 1st baseman in FA, what do you think about LaHair playing a share of left field?

  • In reply to Alex:

    I think it's an option. My gut tells me the Cubs are going to go in the direction that maximizes their defense, so I think they'd rather LaHair be at first base if they can help it.

  • I'd go with DeJesus, Sizemore is a little risky for me . Granted between the two players , Sizemore is the more well rounded player , but now he's brittle. DeJesus is the safer , albeit boring choice

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    He would definitely improve that defense out there. Between he, Jackson, and Byrd that would be a big improvement over last year.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Agree with you, Steve. Sizemore hasn't looked like a major league ballplayer in a few years now, and he's apparently made of glass.

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    Theo says he doesn't believe in 4A players, they're just guys who never got a logitimate shot. So that speaks well of what he thinks about LaHair. Byrd doesn't have the power to play a corner OF spot so he has to go. Brett Jackson fits the bill well. We don't know about Colvin. Is he the guy from '10 or the guy from '11? Either way, Sori goes to the bench. Maybe he'll get disgusted and ask for a trade or retire.

  • In reply to Henry Wilfong:

    I'm sure Colvin will get another shot but he has to be more like the guy from 2010, not just in power but someone who at least tried to grind out more ABs. Perhaps he pressed to much and got into his overly aggressive habits again last season.

  • John, in your opinion, what chance a trade might bring a new left fielder?

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I'd say the chances are good that he Cubs will at least explore that option. Anybody specific you have in mind?

  • No. I had just read and heard so much about free agent signings that I wondered about the possibility of Theo et al doing a trade or two to unload some of what is expendable and maybe bringing in someone who is a better fit. I do not expect stars per se and I imagine they will have to overpay in terms of eating contract money but maybe they can find some "keepers", especially from San Diego or Boston ala Dallas Green with the Phils back when. What were you doing up at 2:30 AM??????????

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Hahaha! I've never been much for sleeping. I wouldn't call it insomnia but I like staying up reading books, watching movies or just writing. Something about the way I'm wired has me getting a second wind about 11 pm that lasts until somewhere between 1 and 3 am. It drives my wife crazy.

    I'll definitely look into some trade candidates too down the line. I see a lot of the top of my head at 3B but not as many in the OF right now.

  • I've always been high on DeJesus - I wanted the Cubs to trade for a him a few years ago when he was in KC.

    I still think Cuddyer could be a valuable piece only because the Cubs have three big holes right now - 1B, 3B, and RF (guess LF if they can move Soriano). He can play any of these positions and would provide flexibility to put LaHair in either RF or 1B depending on who else is signed and depending on if anyone is ready to play 3B on a regular basis. I know he won't come cheap though and it's a star defender in at any position.

  • In reply to cowboy2024:

    I think Cuddyer is a solid piece and a guy we mentioned as valuable because of his versatility. With a weak OF class, however, he's getting more attention than I expected. Starting to be afraid that he could get overpriced.

    Agree on DeJesus. He's just a good ballplayer. I'd much rather have him than Soriano out in LF right now.

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    John, as you already know, I'm good with taking a risk on Sizemore, because I don't see it as a huge risk. You offer him a low guaranteed incentive laden deal, and if he doesn't perform, what have you really lost. It's all upside, under the right conditions, as far as I can see.

    Could Carlos Beltran's success drive up Sizemore's cost? Yes, but only marginally. When Beltran did come back in late 2010, he still maintained a respectable OBP and BB:SO. When Sizemore came back, he didn't. What this says, I don't really know. It could be Sizemore was trying to hard to be his old self, and Beltran just let it come to him.

    Sizemore has had to have his opposite knee scoped for loose cartilage recently. So that gives teams more reason to worry, but what worries me more about Sizemore is he and his agent recently insisting Sizemore can and should still play CF. That's a deal breaker to me.

    I'm no doctor, and I don't play one on tv, but I follow Kentucky Wildcat basketball closely, and a star guard of theirs, Derrick Jasper, underwent the surgery a few years ago. So if I may be allowed, let me clear some misconceptions about the surgery up.

    Micro-fracture surgery is not a surgery you typically hear of in baseball. A lot of basketball players get it, and I know of a few football players who've had it. When they do the surgery, they aren't repairing a fracture. They're actually creating multiple fractures. When a patient's knee cartilage has worn down to the point they basically have none, they do micro-fracture surgery. What they do is go in arthroscopically and make multiple tiny little fractures on the underneath side of the knee cap. This allows bone marrow to seep out and form a new layer of cartilage. Results vary, but typically, in athletes, the younger the patient the better the results.

    A normal "complete" recovery time is 18 to 24 months. However, the results vary. Jason Kidd was still a productive NBA player after having the surgery, but Penny Hardaway was never the same player. Terrell Davis might be the most prominent NFL player to ever have the surgery, but I don't know if he is a good example. He never came back, but NFL RB's have short shelf-life, and he was already past his prime. Kentucky''s Derrick Japser came back, but he was never the same player. However, he came back way to soon because his coach, Billy Gillispie, pushed him into it in an attempt to save his own job.

    Carlos Beltran is the only other baseball player I know of, other than Sizemore, to have had the surgery, and it seems to have worked for him, but it took time. I suspect Sizemore will follow a similar path. Sizemore had his surgery in June of 2010, when he was still 27 years old. Carlos Beltran had his surgery in January of 2010 at 32 years of age. 2012 will tell the tale for Sizemore, one way or another.

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    About DeJesus, I wonder how much going from KC to Oakland hurt his numbers. Oakland does not play in a hitter friendly park, and in KC, DeJesus was surrounded by team mates who were better hitters.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    His splits weren't that big. I think it was just an off year but I'm always a little skeptical when it comes to taking splits too literally. He'll bounce back in the NL. Could see him as having a Brian McRae impact here for a couple of years.

  • I'm for quality FA instead of trades if possible. Lets hope Theo
    can get rid of Sorano one way or another.

  • The problem with Grady Sizemore, other than he's a free agent and thus there's probably another team out there willing to give him a contract you shouldn't give him, is that there's a big difference between the IDEA of Grady Sizemore and the real Grady Sizemore. The fact that Sizemore's wheels have been compromised almost makes this a non starter for me. The main reason I would sign a Sizemore is because his legs would make my lineup more dynamic and my outfield defense stronger. His legs are part of the deal and if those aren't great than I think I just as soon pass.

    Hell, Soriano in his prime could leave Sizemore in his dust. But once he lost his legs, he became practically useless. The more I think about it, the more I don't like it.

    I do like the whole versatility thing. Cuddyer can play outfield, 3rd and 2nd. My brother has wanted to acquire Nick Swisher for a good 5 years now. he could swing from right to 1st and add some left handed pop. But it looks like the Bombers want to keep him. I was really hoping the McCourt thing would drag on and we could pry Andre Ethier ( Next year, when Kemp, Cain and Hammels are free agents, I expect the Cubs to put on the big boy pants and excel this building of a championship team....but I die-gress).

    Dejesus seems like a nice low risk kind of signing. But if Dejesus and Brett Jackson are 2/3rds of the Cubs outfield, the third has to be a power guy. Has to. And I can't say who that is....

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    In reply to felzz:

    Mongo no like Matt Kemp. Kemp not good team mate. Kemp to much like Sosa. He play for himself only. Mongo think Kemp to be prima donna.

  • In reply to felzz:

    There's not a whole lot of power guys out there to acquire. The Cubs may be forced to play a different kind of game. Sizemore still had decent power but I understand the concerns about the knee. If it doesn't look like he can still have enough wheels to be an effective outfielder, than you take a pass.

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    Speaking of Carlos Beltran, this team is going to need a veteran presence. I know he turns 35 shortly after opening day, but he puts up better overall numbers than Pena, who is only a year younger, and he is just as good of a clubhouse guy as Pena.

    Beltran had a WAR of 4.7 in 2011, but because of his age and injury history, I expect he will be under-paid. Most experts think he will a 2 year deal with some kind of option for a third year and be paid in the range of $14M to $16M per. By bringing Beltran in, you replace Ramirez with a better all around player for essentially the same money, and then you let LaHair replace Pena, hitting Beltran third and LaHair fifth.

    I think the Cubs will be ready to compete in 2013. So filling a hole with a quality veteran now might make sense. It certainly makes more sense than over-paying Pena over a similar time frame.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm afraid someone's going to pay Beltran more than he's worth -- and more importantly, he may get too many years for what the Cubs want to do. I still think the best way to improve this team quickly is with OBP and defense and try to spread the money around.

  • Hi John,
    I'm brand new to the blog but I love the content and the dedication you show by having fresh articles and insight on a daily basis. Keep up the good work!!! I also really like how you are available, and reply to all your commenters. That's impressive.

    My comment is this. I heard Kaplan say yesterday that Soriano's production numbers last year would have ranked among top 5 of full time DH's on AL teams.

    If that is the case and the Cubs are willing to eat $10 million/yr of his salary, I don't see why they'd have a hard time moving him this winter but that is just my 2 cents.

  • In reply to Still Love the Cubs:

    Thanks Still Love the Cubs. I appreciate the kind words!

    Of course, today I'm gone all day and nowhere near a computer, so I'm late answering questions!

    I think they can and will move Soriano. I don't know that for certain, but he is such a poor fit for what they want to do right now. He's a sunk cost so eating the contract won't be that painful financially as far as the money books are concerned.

  • Well.....tell Mongo.......And I like Mongo.......but tell Mongo that kemp almost won the triple crown...... and he's 26...... and if you were playing for the Dodgers while Ned Coletti was running them into the ground and the Mccourts were giving all the team's money to their divorce attorneys....well even Mongo would be a miserable SOB too......

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    In reply to felzz:

    Good one felzz! LOL! Kemp couldn't possibly be any worse of a team mate than Manny Ramirez.

  • Please tell me we are done with the days of the "high upside, short term, make-good contract." Haven't we done this enough to realize it rarely works?

  • In reply to SalukiHawk:

    It worked pretty well for Pena. It's more what you do when you don't want to encumber your payroll with a multi-year deal when your team isn't close to winning.

    What I don't want is the long term, big money contracts to players who are past their peak years. Those are the days that I hope are over.

  • I'm starting to hear rumors of Martin Prado as a possible man on the move. Any chance????

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Prado's a nice player. A solid defender at multiple positions. If we got him I think we'd want to have him at 3rd. Only downside is his walk rate is on a steady decline and it killed his OBP last year, it barely crossed the .300 mark. If they want to trade him I'd definitely listen, but I wouldn't give up a whole lot.

  • John,

    This may be a bit off topic, but I have been reading on MLB trade rumors that the Braves are willing to move Jurrjens. Is this a trade the the Cubs could make? It says that the Braves are looking for a shortstop, could Barney, be a shortstop that Atlanta could consider as a part of the package to get Jurrjens?

    If the Cubs could bring in Jurrjens to go with Garza and then add another arm, their rotation suddenly looks very solid.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    Jurrjens would be a great addition. He's what? 26? Still in his prime. Love to have him but it's going to take a lot more than Barney. The question is can the Cubs deplete their farm system again after the Garza trade? The Braves are sure to ask for a lot.

  • Jurrjens will likely stay now that the Braves managed to find a taker for Lowe...they do have several up and coming young pitchers but they'd want much more than Barney in return. I don't see the Cubs having the bullets to pull such a deal off.

    It probably does not matter...Living in Atlanta right now...and I'd be shocked if Jurrjens was moved.

  • In reply to wxboy26:

    I agree except for the part about not having the bullets. They acquired Garza last year largely from depth and they still have the prospects to do that kind of trade, but it'll be too big a blow to the system to make that kind of deal two years in a row.

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    i've been reading this blog for the last month or so now and it is addicting! This is easily the best blog on sports on the net that I have read anyway and is much more interesting and informative then reading the guys in the trib. It's too bad that Ryno is a small-ball manager because it seems like he would have all the other qualities Theo is looking for. Good leadership, communications skills with players, having a culture of accountability and dedication. Couldn't he be educated about the probability of creating runs when doing sacrifice bunts and other like strategies. I'm sure he is not a stupid guy and I would think this would be an easy thing to coach somebody up on. As long as the front office is providing the right types of players that will get on-base, play good defense, etc. I don't see how Ryno could mess it up that badly anyway with his managing. A few minor adjustments to his strategy through some basic learning in probability may be all he needs.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    Thanks Gary!

    It's a good point and I'm certain he could learn them quickly. The only thing is, what does that say to other candidates who already know those principles, have more experience at the MLB level and have an equal if not better track record in the minors? That would describe guys like Hale, Mackanin, and Bogar. In the end, you want to get the best guy available and Epstein and Co. probably felt there were better candidates for what they want to do.

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    i know theo and ryno are moving on but i'm still kind of reminiscing about what might have been. it's too bad! When you factor in his familiarity with our system, I think he may have helped us out alot.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    That was probably his biggest advantage and I agree it really would have helped. I'm thinking the new FO probably feels it can get that kind of info from Wilken and Fleita -- and perhaps some fresh pairs of eyes helps too.

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    Also, I'd go for Sizemore as opposed to DeJesus. Why not take a chance for guys at this point who pose a little more risk but also have higher ceilings as long as we can get them for bargain prices. Is DeJesus really going to put us over the top next year or even make us competitive? Not likely, but if we get lucky with a few high-risk but high reward and cheap labor guys like Sizemore you never know and it's not like we have a lot to lose for next year anyway.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    Good point. The Cubs really don't have much to lose in 2012, so now is the time to gamble. Sizemore can help fill the power drain that will happen when Ramirez, Pena, and possibly Soriano wear different uniforms next year.

  • Sizemore is a bigger upside that DeJesus, i'm just worried about how healthy he is . If he is relatively cheap, hell why not? As for Ryne Sandberg, I think in Theo's mind there is big gap between a guy who is managing in the minors and a major league coach. I think that's the key factor more than anything else in Theo's decision. The more I think about , the more I like the idea of Mike Maddux as the next Cubs manager. Theo puts a lot of emphasis on pitching and Jed Hoyer did hire Bud Black in San Diego, I think Maddux is becoming my favorite right now.

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    you guys make good points. I'm fine with whoever Theo (Jed, et. al.) decides. Maddux would be fine, as well as probably others. I'm not sure that managers make that huge of a difference on the amount of wins anyway. I think as long as they are getting the most they can out of the players made available to them, which I'm sure several guys can do for you at this point.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    I agree. Some of it's probably intangible and hard to measure, but as far as individual moves and decision they usually make a difference of a few wins or losses either way -- about as valuable as a good starter on the field.

  • Gonna repeat what I've posted here before. Our new front-office team needs to look at this as a 3-year plan, finding players who project to be key pieces on the 2014 team. Like Castro, Cashner, Brett Jackson. Acquire and develop more good, young players. Let them play. See which ones pan out. Create a whole new foundation from which you can have year-to-year sustainability. What I'm seeing here instead is the usual stuff of FA lists and snagging this or that 30-ish veteran, with the emphasis on being competive in '12. That's all short-sighted. Forget '12. Forget '13. Those are building-block years toward '14. As for a declining hackmeiste like Byrd, you definitely move him out and get as good a prospect as possible in return. .

  • In reply to michaelc:

    I agree Michael that this is a 3 year plan but that doesn't preclude filling in gaps from outside the organization with minor, short-term signings. I don't think the Cubs will be able to fill all their gaps with minor leaguers and if they tried, it would probably be a disaster.

    You may want to forget the next two years but I assure you these guys will want to field a competitive team. We're not talking long term contracts that will hamper them in the future these are one or two year contracts to sort of bridge the gap. Epstein/Hoyer's pattern has been to look for bargains as they look to build the system over a period of years.

  • I would love to see them try to aquire Logan Morrison . Love the site! great work.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Agree above with Michealc ,move Byrd for a prospect or just a case of turbo lax . Make room for players that figure in Theo's plans for the next few years like Jackson , I like the idea of a flier on Sizemore. At 80% he is still better than Soriano or Byrd . Morrison would be ideal . Thats an outfield . Sizemore , Jackson , Morrison .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Thanks Bryan. I'm a big Morrison fan myself. That's a piece that could be here for the long haul. Not sure if Florida will trade him, but they have two first basemen right now (Morrison is not a good OF'er at all). I've heard they'd ask for a lot in return.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    i would think that with Jackson in CF and Sizemore in LF we could absorb the defence either Lahair or Morrison would provide in RF , That was my thinking . 4 potentially really nice bats in the lineup too .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Ha...we said basically the same thing at the same time!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That being said, I'd be willing to stash Morrison for a year in the OF if they have a solid defender in the other two spots. We could use that kind of bat in our lineup.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    what kind of package would You think the Cubs would have to send Florida to get Morrison?

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think Florida would ask for Brett Jackson. Or possibly Szczur and another player, probably a pitching prospect. They would definitely want guys with long term cost control, so likely prospects or first year players. Barney might interest them in that sense. I would try to hang on to the OFer's, but I would package Barney and pitching prospects, though it would probably take McNutt to get the deal done.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would do McNutt and Barney for Morrison in a heeartbeat .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    As would I. And I'd like to take a moment to recycle the old "I'd give my left McNutt to get him" joke.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm sure we would on this side, but that may end up just being a starting point. I have a hard time seeing us acquire Morrison without throwing in a top prospect.

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