Cubs sign DeJesus to play right field

Cubs sign DeJesus to play right field

CHICAGO -- 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.

"We don't see him as a platoon player," Hoyer said of DeJesus. "Does that mean he won't get days off against tough lefties? I'm sure we'll try to provide that support and flexibility for [manager] Dale [Sveum], but we're not signing [DeJesus] as a platoon player."

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.

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.

"One thing you try to do whenever you acquire players is have a broader lens than just the previous year," Hoyer said. "With David, he was one of the most sought after players in the trade market in 2010 before he hurt his thumb.

"We feel very good that he'll come into Chicago and bounce back."

He'll have a fairly short commute. DeJesus lives in suburban Wheaton, Ill., in the offseason.

Hoyer said he likes DeJesus' defense plus his ability to hit right-handed pitching well, make contact and run the bases. DeJesus brought a 241-game errorless streak into the 2011 season.

He won't bring much power, but does give the Cubs a left-handed bat in the lineup, part of Hoyer's efforts to get more balance. The team is still in the market for another left-handed hitter.

"In general, a priority this offseason has been to balance the lineup a bit," Hoyer said. "The Cubs hit left-handed pitching fairly well last year, and right-handed pitching gave the club a lot of trouble."

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.

"He's certainly not out of the picture," Hoyer said. "Tyler struggled in 2011. He has to come to camp and bounce back from last year. We're trying to round out our lineup and do everything we can to put the best team we can on the field. I think Tyler, given the year he had, he needs to bounce back, and that starts in Spring Training."

As for the Cubs' reported interest in free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, Hoyer would not comment specifically on the two first basemen.

"As I've stated in the past, we're a major market team and we're going to be involved across the spectrum," Hoyer said. "I'm not going to address whether we're on or off individual players, other than the fact that we're in contact with a lot of teams and a lot of agents and we're doing everything we can to improve the team for next year and the future."

What is not a secret is that Hoyer has been in contact with Kerry Wood's agent, Pat Rooney, regarding a new deal for the pitcher for 2012.

"We'd love to bring Kerry back," Hoyer said. "He had a great year last year and he's an excellent ambassador for the Cubs. The stated goal of bringing Kerry back has been made very clear."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.