So much for Len & Bob as the Cubs best leadoff man. WGN’s dynamic duo has been unseated with the arrival of David DeJesus.
Right away it appears Epstein/Hoyer share a similar idea Jim Hendry had two years ago when the Cubs signed Joey Gathright–a speedy, left-handed hitting outfielder–to bat leadoff.
As you remember, the Gathright signing was short lived. Through 20 games he batted .214 with one stolen base, no extra base hits and six strikeouts. Hendry subsequently dealt him to Baltimore for Ryan Freel on May 8, 2009.
Freel was even worse than Gathright statistically posting a .143 avg. in 14 games with one steal, one RBI and seven strikeouts. And by July 2, 2009, Freel was DFA to make room for the newly acquired Jeff Baker from the Colorado Rockies.
Surprisingly, the Cubs have been without a typical leadoff man ever since.
Meanwhile, the signing of DeJesus to a 2-yr, $10M deal should come as no surprise. He’s exactly what Epstein/Hoyer are looking for while they bridge the gap from pretending to contending.
With the Cubs developing several promising outfielders in the minor leagues, DeJesus is in the midst of his prime, 32, a seasoned nine-year veteran, patient at the plate and is above average overall defensively.
That’s what I call smart money, a reasonable and fair deal that makes sense for both the Cubs’ present and its future.
Theoretically, we can assume Epstein & Hoyer will take the same approach in finding a starting third and first baseman–right age, right price and right fit.
How you fit Pujols or Fielder into any of those categories is beyond me. But I’d be happy to hear an explanation!