The way in which I received the news that the Cubs had signed David DeJesus to play right field for them will help me explain to you how I feel about the deal.
Several minutes ago, a baseball buddy of mine IMed me to ask, "How do you feel about David DeJesus?"
Well, I said, he's played center field before, so I have to think he's a pretty good defender in the corner outfield spots. And bat-wise, I'd guess he's a .290/.340/.460 kind of guy? Which is pretty fine.
Him: The Cubs just signed him.
Me: Wait, what?
Him: For 2/10, with an option for a third year.
Without looking, I'd say this signing is better than 99% of the free agent deals Hendry made over the course of his tenure as Cubs GM (Jim Edmonds being his best without question). And if Hendry were still around, I feel like DeJesus would be getting AT LEAST twice the guaranteed money he is now.
So that's my reaction. Now how right was I on my off-the-cuff evaluation?
Let's talk bat first. For his career, DeJesus has a .271/.349/.399 line — not quite as good as I thought, but I do like the OBP, which would have ranked 4th among 2011 Cubs (Fukudome, Aramis, Pena). Also, DeJesus has slugged above .434 in five seasons, maxing out at .452 in 2008. Those 506 plate appearances playing for Oakland last year appear to have pushed all his career numbers down quite a bit (.240/.323/.376 for the A's last season, one year after posting a .318/.384/.443 for the Royals).
As for the glove, the stats confirm that DeJesus has been able to handle center field in the past, and looks to be a plus defender in right next year. I've lost faith in the accuracy of UZR over time, but for what it's worth, the folks at Fangraphs estimate DeJesus saved 14 runs in right last year; less the positional adjustment, he's probably worth about a win with the glove.
Another pro: he's left-handed. That should help a team that hasn't been able to field a left-handed hitter with an average above .250 for, like, nine years.
There is a con, however; check out his games played per season, listed from low to high over the course of his career: 157, 144, 135, 131, 122, 96, 91. So durability appears to be an issue.
One other caveat: the last time I got excited about a right fielder with durability issues and decent numbers, he turned out to be a total nut job. (Guess who?) And I haven't heard anything about DeJesus' makeup. Although, I guess that means it's probably not *that* bad? But at least this guy's guaranteed a third of the money Milton Bradley made.
And a final note: this signing makes a Tyler Colvin-for-Ian Stewart swap with the Rockies make that much more sense.
Welcome aboard, David DeJesus. Good luck in Chicago.