DeJesus agrees to $10 million, 2-yr deal with Cubs
''Ultimately we feel that he is an above-average defender in right field. He's played there quite a bit, actually moving over from center field a few years ago,'' new general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday. ''I think he has the ability to do a lot of things. He makes contact, he gets on base. He doesn't have a lot of home run power, he has a lot of doubles power. I think he can hit all over the lineup. I'll leave that up to Dale. It's nice to have a player that's versatile.''
A. 284 hitter during nine years with Kansas City and Oakland, DeJesus batted just .240 in his lone season with the Athletics. He batted .265 against right-handers and only .174 against lefties last season. But he did improve as the year progressed, batting .270 in the second half after hitting just .220 in the first.
He gives the Cubs versatility in the outfield and a reliable glove. Chicago could still be in the market for another left-handed hitter.
But Hoyer declined to comment on the possibility the Cubs could pursue the top left-handed hitter on the market, first baseman Prince Fielder, or Albert Pujols.
''We never talk about free agent players. In the past, we're a major market team and we're going to be involved across the spectrum. I'm not going to address whether we're on or off individual players, other than the fact we're in contact with a lot of teams and a lot of agents,'' Hoyer said.
''We're doing everything we can to improve the team for next year and the future.''
Baseball's winter meeting take place in Dallas next week.
DeJesus brought a 241-game errorless streak into the 2011 season, the longest active streak among big league outfielders at the time. He made four errors in 250 chances with Oakland, a .984 fielding percentage.
He suffered a serious thumb injury in his final season with the Royals in 2010.
''With David, I think he was one of the most sought-after players on the trade market in 2010 before he hurt his thumb,'' Hoyer said. ''He goes to Oakland and he struggles. Looking inside his year a little bit, his second half was much stronger than his first half. That made us feel good. We always try to look at a player's last three or four years, not just highly focused on that last year. We feel very good that he's going to come into Chicago and bounce back.''
DeJesus' deal includes a 2014 club option. What his arrival means for young outfielder Tyler Colvin is not clear. Colvin hit 20 homers as a rookie in 2010 but struggled last season before being demoted to the minors.
''We signed DeJesus looking to round out our lineup. We'll do everything we can to put the best group out on the field,'' Hoyer said. ''Tyler, he has to bounce back and that starts in spring training. To say that he's out of our plans would be wrong.''