The Cubs have a new right fielder as general manager Jed Hoyer made his first on-field transaction Wednesday, signing David DeJesus to a two-year contract with an option for a third year. DeJesus, who turns 32 next month, will earn $4.25 million each of the next two years, and the 2014 option year is for $6.5 million with a $1.5 million buyout.
DeJesus is projected to be their starting right fielder. He is the first roster addition made by Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer. When Epstein was with the Red Sox, he actually targeted the left-handed-hitting outfielder before the Trading Deadline in 2010.
He follows a string of left-handed hitters who have been pegged as the Cubs’ next right fielder, including Jacque Jones, Jeromy Burnitz, Milton Bradley and Kosuke Fukudome.
DeJesus has averaged 33 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs and 70 RBIs per 162 games in his career, playing for the Royals (2003-10) and Athletics (2011).
In 2010, he set career highs with a .318 batting average and .384 on-base percentage in 91 games, but his season ended early because of a right thumb injury sustained shortly after the All-Star break. Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, tried to acquire DeJesus prior to the non-waiver Trading Deadline in 2010.
He is coming off a down season in which he batted .240 with 10 homers, 20 doubles and 46 RBIs for the Athletics. Was he still feeling the effects of a severe thumb injury suffered in July 2010?
The outfielder was dealt to the A’s after the 2010 season, and this past year, he batted .240 with 20 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 60 runs scored and 46 RBIs in 131 games. He hit .270 with a .342 on-base percentage after the All-Star break.
Besides never having played at Wrigley Field, DeJesus also didn’t know much about new Cubs manager Dale Sveum.
The Cubs do have young outfielder Brett Jackson in the wings. Chicago’s top Draft pick in 2009. DeJesus and Jackson can play all three outfield positions as can Marlon Byrd. There’s been a lot of talk about how the Cubs need to change the culture. What does that mean to DeJesus?
He will have a fairly short commute. DeJesus lives in suburban Wheaton, Ill., in the offseason.
But what about Tyler Colvin? The outfielder struggled to hit .150 with six homers in 80 games last season after hitting 20 homers and batting .254 in 2010.
Nick Badders is a unofficial reporter for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.