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« Coming & Going: White Sox Left Fielders Pressure's On For Hawks After 8 Straight Losses »

Cubs Mon Feb 13 2012

Coming & Going: Cubs Right Fielders

It's been a tumultuous offseason for the local nines, with the Cubs and White Sox both saying goodbye to big names who played big roles in recent years. Let's get you up to speed before spring training arrives. (Part of a series.)


Goodbye: Tyler Colvin
Last season: .150 BA, 6 HR, 20 RBI, .509 OPS (.204 OBP, .306 SLG) in 80 games

Hello: David DeJesus
Last season: .240 BA, 10 HR, 46 RBI, .698 OPS (.323 OBP, .376 SLG)

What Happened?

Tyler Colvin took over in right field last season after the Cubs traded Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians at the deadline, but he was himself traded in December by the new regime, going to Colorado with DJ LeMahieu for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers.

A short time earlier, the Cubs inked David DeJesus to a pretty fair deal - $4.25 million for 2012 and 2013, and a $6.5 million team option for 2014 with a $1.5 million buyout. The team has early plans to play him in right field, and GM Jed Hoyer said of the signing "We're very excited to sign David. He's a player who does a lot of things very well, including running the bases and getting on base. And he doesn't strike out very much. These are all areas we wanted to improve on going into next year."

You can take that quote as saying either "David fits our system really well and we need a guy like him," or "As stop-gap solutions go, David will do for now."

How Will the Cubs Miss Colvin?

Colvin has upside, but he has some downside as well. The 26-year old has a ton of pop in his bat (and is more valuable than others because he's left-handed), but is not big on generating a high OBP. His most complete season was 2010, when he played 135 MLB games, and Colvin finished with 20 home runs, but also a .316 OBP with 100 strikeouts and only 30 walks.

What Does DeJesus Bring to the Cubs?

DeJesus was bad last year in Oakland. He finished with a 0.6 WAR, which would be okay if he were coming off the bench. Chicago is hoping DeJesus returns to his 2010 and earlier form, when he was one of the only Royals worth anything.

Surprisingly enough, none of DeJesus' seasons really stand out. From 2005 to 2010, he averaged 58 RBI, 29 doubles and 7 triples, with a .290 batting average and .789 OPS. Not bad at all. Plus, DeJesus hit in every spot in the batting order for Oakland last season (the fifth and sixth spots were most common), and he carried a 241-game errorless streak into 2011. On the season, he only committed four errors in 250 chances.

Two advanced stats stand out. Over his career, DeJesus has hit .290 with a .815 OPS against right-handed pitchers. That's better than Fukudome's .262 and .775 marks against righties. Also, DeJesus has hit .325 with a .402 on-base percentage and an .877 OPS in 123 games against the National League. Basically, if there is a candidate to flourish in the much talked about AL-to-NL switch, DeJesus is the guy for that.

I wouldn't go as far as to use the word "expect," but don't be surprised if the 32-year old DeJesus has a bounce-back year for the Cubs in 2012. If not? He was still a better option than Fukudome in the short term, and it seemed pretty obvious that the Cubs were not seeing a future with Colvin in the outfield. And DeJesus' price tag was pretty reasonable. Low risk, potentially high reward.

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