David DeJesus has quietly joined the Cubs this offseason; he has not inspired a wealth of excitement. Right field has been a problem for the Cubs for years, as Kosuke Fukudome, Tyler Colvin and Tony Campana have failed to consistently produce. Fans are already grumbling about DeJesus, whose .240 batting average last season does not make him seem like a desirable solution.
But there are reasons for Cubs fans to embrace this deal. Here are five reasons to be optimistic about the Cubs' new right fielder.
David DeJesus is a career .284 hitter. While this number is not astonishing, it means that DeJesus is not a terrible batter either, as his 2011 numbers might suggest.
A number of factors may have limited DeJesus' most recent campaign. Because his second-half numbers are significantly better than his first-half numbers, it is plausible to think that DeJesus might have been still feeling the effects of his season-ending thumb injury in 2010.
Further, Wrigley Field is much more friendly to hitters than Oakland's Coliseum, so look for DeJesus' batting average to climb next year.
DeJesus' real offensive value lies in his on-base percentage. He has been near or over .350 for his entire career, with the exception of last year's campaign.
Taking into account his career numbers and age, it appears that his 2011 numbers should not hold very much weight.
Perhaps surprisingly, DeJesus has always been an above-average offensive outfielder. His skill at getting on base has been a large part of his success. DeJesus has never had a negative oWAR—even in 2011 he posted an oWAR of 0.8. Look for DeJesus' oWAR to return to around 2.0, where it has been for most of his career.
DeJesus is a a sure-handed defender. DeJesus went a remarkable 241 games—the entirety of the 2010 and 2011 seasons—without making a single error.
Though DeJesus is getting older and his range is lessening (DeJesus also had the best range in the AL at one point), his steady defense will provide a contrast to the Cubs' error-prone defense.
David DeJesus brings a sorely needed left-handed bat to Chicago's predominately right-handed lineup.
With the likely departure of Carlos Pena, the Cubs desperately need some left-handed hitting. DeJesus cannot provide anywhere near the power that Pena is capable of, but a balanced lineup is always an asset.
DeJesus' relatively cheap price tag helps quell doubts about his health and decreasing offensive production.
At 4.25 million a year for two years, DeJesus cannot significantly hinder the Cubs' front office financially even if he fails to perform at all. But if DeJesus performs to his potential, he will prove to be a good value, and a modest success for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.