Scouting The Trade Market: David DeJesus


(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The Yankees might not have a bigger hole to fill this offseason than in right field, were they’re losing Nick Swisher‘s consistently well-above-average production to free agency. The free agent market offers few viable alternatives and the trade market always seems to be overloaded with aging players on over-sized contracts. Since the Bombers are looking to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold by 2014, long-term and big money contracts are out of the question for the time being.

The best places to look for trade candidates are rebuilding teams, and perhaps no club outside of Houston is in the middle of a more extensive rebuild than the Cubs. Chicago’s north-siders didn’t just lose 101 games this year, they finished with the franchise’s worst record in nearly 60 years. The new Theo Epstein-led regime has cleaned house since taking over 12 months ago, trading pretty much every established player on the roster other than Starlin Castro and Matt Garza. They likely would have dealt the latter at the deadline as well had he not gotten hurt.

One of the few free agents the Cubbies signed last winter was the Brooklyn-born and New Jersey-raised David DeJesus. The 32-year-old outfielder has spent most of his career with the Royals, but they traded him to the Athletics a year before he was scheduled to hit free agency. Now that he’s signed with one of baseball’s most historic franchises, all he has left to do to complete the Johnny Damon circle of life is spend his last years as a productive big leaguer in pinstripes. Let’s see if DeJesus is a fit for the Yankees…

The Pros

  • Over the last three years, the left-handed hitting DeJesus has hit a solid .270/.350/.405 (108 wRC+). As you’d expect given the park effects, the worst of those three years came while with the Athletics (96 wRC+). He’s primarily a pull hitter (2012 spray chart, 2010-2012 spray chart), which fits Yankee Stadium well.
  • DeJesus’ game is all about controlling the strike zone. He owns a 9.4% walk rate over the last three years, including a career-high 10.5% this season. He’s also struck out just 15.0% of the time since 2010, making contact on 86.6% of his swings. Those two rates aren’t elite, but they’re solidly better than the league average.
  • Outside of a fluke torn thumb ligament in 2010 — you might remember him suffering the injury crashing into the Yankee Stadium wall (video) — DeJesus hasn’t missed more than about a week due to injury since the 2006 season.
  • DeJesus has spent considerable time in all three outfield spots throughout his career, and the various metrics have rated him as an average or better defender in the corners throughout the years.
  • The Cubbies signed him to a two-year deal worth $10M last offseason, and he’s owed $4.25M in the final guaranteed year next season. There’s also a $6.5M club option for 2014 ($1.5M buyout).

The Cons

  • DeJesus has never really been able to hit lefties, but his struggles have become extreme these last two years. He hit a tolerable .289/.338/.374 (90 wRC+) against southpaws from 2008-2010, but since the start of last year it’s a .163/.256/.195 (30 wRC+). Among the 227 players to bat at least 200 times against lefties these last two years, exactly zero have been less productive. He’s been that bad.
  • You’re not getting much power or speed with DeJesus. He’s hit just 24 homers (.135 ISO) and gone 14-for-28 in stolen base attempts the last three years. He has taken the extra base a slightly above-average 46% of the time since 2010, however.
  • DeJesus doesn’t have a strong outfield arm, which limits his usefulness in right. Not a big deal, but it’s probably worth noting.
  • I don’t put much stock in this, but DeJesus has not only never played in the postseason, but he’s never even played for a team that finished the year with a winning record. A pennant race will be an entirely new experience for him.

There has been no indication that the Cubs are shopping DeJesus, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re open to moving him given their extreme rebuilding phase. They’ve focused primarily on pitching prospects but have taken whatever they could get over the last year or so. Epstein & Co. are seeking quality over quantity.

The neat thing about DeJesus is that we serves as his own trade comparable. When the Royals traded him to the Athletics during the 2010-2011 offseason, he had one year left on his contract ($6M) and was coming off a career-high 127 wRC+. Two years later, the Cubs would be trading him with one year left on his contract ($5.75M) and coming off a career-average 104 wRC+. The price should not have gone up, and if anything it should have gone down. Oakland sent the Royals one up-and-down big league arm (Vin Mazzaro) and a Single-A pitching prospect (Justin Marks) two winters ago, so perhaps a package of Adam Warren and a low-level arm gets it done. Seems pretty reasonable, actually.

I’ve never been a huge DeJesus fan but he’s always been a solid player. These days you need a platoon partner and can’t count on him to hit double-digit homers or steal double-digit bases or run down everything in right field, so his value stems almost exclusively from his ability to draw walks and put the ball in play. It would be a downgrade and a noticeably different style of play than what Swisher brought to the table these last four years, but considering what figures to be a reasonable price and a short-term contract commitment (the club option is pretty nice), the Yankees might not find more bang for their buck this winter.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. vin says:

    One of these days, Yankee fans will stop inquiring about David DeJesus. Seems like he’s been a popular target for too many years.

  2. Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

    I’d rather save the prospect and just sign Ichiro. As least he provides speed and elite defense in RF.

  3. Blake says:

    This offseason makes me sad

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      “I’d rather save the prospect and just sign Ichiro. As least he provides speed and elite defense in RF.”

      “This offseason makes me sad.”

      I agree with both of these. (So far, anyway. That could all change tomorrow. ::fingers crossed::)

    • jjyank says:

      It’s early. This offseason will make me sad if the roster is the same in like, 2 months.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      It seems bleak but that’s because Cashman just can’t sign the best free agents again. However I am confident he is up to the task of getting top players or making top players since his bosses desire to be under 190 million.

  4. SRB says:

    I’d still like to give Adam Warren a shot rather than shipping him off for, what I consider, a “stop-gap”

  5. BJ says:

    I like Alex Gordon from KC.

  6. Darren says:

    I still haven’t heard one good reason of why we as fans should support the $189mm budget. This isn’t the government, or your kids, or school district, or even yourself, where a budget makes sense. This is a billion dollar corporation owned by kazillionaires. Why do I care whether Hank has an extra 450 million in his bank account or whether he has to pay it to MLB?

    Sersiouly, why?

    • pinchhitter says:

      Your argument is basically “It’s not my money so what do I care what happens to it.” Hank’s argument is that it is his money, and he does care. Unless you and a million other fans stop going to games, I have a feeling I know who’s going to win, whether you support his decision or not.

    • 0-Fur is Murder says:

      The Yankees don’t care if they have your support. They will do what is in their best interest. Just like with player trades and free agent signings.

    • J6takish says:

      This is a travesty, how can the Yankees stay competitive by only spending $189m? I for one, am outraged

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

        It has nothing to do with spending $189 million, it’s the fact that they spent it very foolishly and don’t have as good a team as you would expect despite spending that much money.

        • They made commitments before the $189M budget was in place.

        • Cris Pengiucci says:

          Very foolishly? Up to this point, they’ve had an outstanding team, despite only winning one WS in the past 4 years. Yes, it could have been better. But it’s still a good team and can continue to be despite the reduction in payroll. I, for one, expect it to be.

          • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

            I hope you’re right but I see them as a 88-90 win team fringe playoff contender for 2013 and 2014.

            • Quite the uneducated guess this early in the offseason.

              • Cris Pengiucci says:

                Yet, even if “just making” the playoffs, they can still win the WS. I just want them to have the shot at it. I’ll take my chances from there.

                • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

                  Still drinking the “once they make the playoffs, it’s all luck” cool-aid that’s popular around these part, I see.

                  • jjyank says:

                    Well a lot of it is luck and timing. The best overall team on paper does not always win the world series. Why is that?

                    • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

                      I can agree that there is a component for luck but I think its a minor component. Otherwise the Giants have been pretty damn lucky the last few years and the Yankees or the late 90s, their luck was off the charts.

                  • gc says:

                    No, it’s not ALL luck. But the shorter the sample size, the crazier things can happen. Did Justin Verlander all the sudden become a sucky pitcher? Of course not. But in one game in the World Series this year, he sucked. That’s what post-season baseball can often times be in a nutshell.

                  • OldYanksFan says:

                    Geez… I guess you’re right, and the Tigers WERE the best team in the AL… even though they only had the SEVENTH best record during the regular season,

        • RetroRob says:

          So you want them to continue spending foolishly, if indeed that’s what they’ve done?

          If the Yankees don’t put the product you want on the field, then by all means don’t support it. That’s how it works.

          • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

            Who says I’m not supporting them? I went to about 5 games this year in addition to watching probably another 100+ on TV.

            Is voicing displeasure over this self imposed budget not allowed on a Yankee fan blog?

            Get over yourself.

      • BJ says:

        Maybe they can try by doing what other teams like Tampa, the A’s and Cardinals do. Good scouting.

        • Cris Pengiucci says:

          And high draft picks due to poor regular season finishes? No thank you. I’ll take a playoff contender every year, along with the crap-shoot that the playoffs is, and the possibility of wonning a WS.

          • BJ says:

            Excuse me, put the Cardinals a re a competitive team almost every year, and still have plenty of good prospects. What does having good scouting has to do with having a bad record?

            • Preston says:

              So you agree that the other two teams you mentioned aren’t relavant. The Cardinals have been pretty good for 12 years (only one losing season) but a lot of their success centers around the fact that a 13th round pick became the best player in the game. That’s not scouting, or they would have drafted him earlier. It’s just luck. Also playing in a very weak NL Central has helped them many years, they haven’t won more than 91 games but have made the playoffs in three of those seasons. It’s been a while since anybody in the AL East snuck into the post-season with fewer than 90 wins.

              • chiggie says:

                They trade vets and get farm hands too. We don’t have that luxury we are in playoffs EVERY year and they have also let veteran players sign elsewhere to get supplemental draft choices. Hard to get top players not drafting in first couple rounds or late first at best.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          We’re now qualified to evaluate the scouting departments of franchises, I see….sort of like a scout scout.

      • 0-Fur is Murder says:

        Like Michael Kay says, The Rays compete with a low salary and you can’t assume the double play.

    • It’s not about supporting it. It’s about understanding it.

  7. SRB says:

    Great point Darren, except that is what they say they’re going to do

  8. _NYD_ says:

    add to his “skills” comically bad base running blunders so he can replace Swisher there I guess..

  9. stu phillips says:

    There goes the attendance.!!!!

  10. Damix says:

    Platoon him with Scott Hairston, I feel like that is two targets that have talked about around here a bunch.

    Though as someone else mentioned, I’d prefer Ichiro+Hairston and keep Warren for rotation depth.

  11. Robert says:

    For 1 year he is an upgrade over A Jones but not for Adam Warren….

    You got to remember when George was in charge it was George 1 owner and his family.Now there are 4 owners Hank,Hal,Jessica and Jennifer the 4 children and I guess when the pie is split between 4 families a billion dollars doesnt go so far…

    Get used to Yankee Austerity and this explains it…..

  12. Darren says:

    Boy that was a lot of reading comprehension fail by you guys in just a few minutes.

    Pinchitter: OBVIOUSLY Hank is going to win the argument. That’s not the point. The Yankees have never given a shit about the fans and this is no exception. I expect nothing from them.

    0-fur is murder: having a budget might be in the best interest of the Steinbrenners’ bank account, but is NOT in the best interest of
    winning a championship. That is much different than free agent
    signings and trades of the past 15 years (give or take), which, even if I disagreed with, were made with the goal of a WS in mind, not getting under a meaningless budget.

    J6takish: did I say they couldn’t remain competitive? no. Of coruse they can. but again, that’s not the point.

    What I fail to understand is why the AVERAGE FAN is on board with this plan. You’re acting like it’s good for you, when it’s not. It’s just typical mindless unquestioning behavior. I get we have to deal with it, but I don’t get why I’m supposed to act like it’s a good thing. It’s one thing to reject the notion of paying a shit ton of money for an old player if you think his roster spot would be better served by someone young. It’s another to say we can’t afford 2 years of Torii hunter, or pay Nick Swisher (ingorning post season failures for a second) because of the budget. Seems really stupid to me.

    • So what you’re saying is you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about?

      • Darren says:

        Your comment makes no sense. Seriously. Let me make it simple for you.

        Do you think the $189mm budget helps or hinders the Yankee’s chances of winning a championship? If it hinders their chances, why should the average fan support that budget? Can you answer these questions?

        • Let me make it very simple for you. No one thinks or is arguing that the budget helps their chances of winning the WS, so get that out of your mind – small as it may be. Also, no one is asking you or anyone else to support the budget. You also referred to it as meaningless, which shows that you have no understanding of business and/or the new CBA.

          At the end of the day, it’s essentially a 10% cut in payroll. Not the end of the world.

          • Jerkface says:

            No its not. Its a 20% or more cut in the budget.


          • Jerkface says:

            And the reason why it is closer to a 20% cut is because the 189 limit includes 11 million in player benefits, for 2014 you are potentially dealing with 9 million in dead money for Jeter (if he declines his option), you have to consider the 40 man roster not just your active roster, and there needs to be room for bonuses/escalators/trades. That turns 189 into something closer to 165 or 170.

          • Darren says:

            Are you really so dense that you don’t understand the reference to “meaningless” in this context? It doesn’t mean that the $189mm budget won’t have any actual effects. It means that in light of the Steinbrenner’s vast fortune, the budget will have no PRACTICAL effects. Hank isn’t going to go hungry. Context. Try and understand.

            Also, you’re a fucking douche.

            • 0-Fur is Murder says:

              Second paragraph wins the debate!

            • Oh, I gotcha. You misused the word meaningless? You’re admitting that it has “actual effects”, which would mean that it has “meaning”.

              It has the potential to save the Yanks around $50M, maybe more, so yeah it’s meaningful. A number like that just doesn’t get ignored, not even by extremely rich men.

              You’re just operating at a very low level of intelligence. I get it. It’s no big deal.. Not your fault.

        • Mister D says:

          What if the player budget causes them to invest more in scouting and analytics while eschewing “who cares, its only money” deals like Rodriguez’s?

        • 0-Fur is Murder says:

          Let me make it simple. It’s their shiney toy to play with, not yours.

          • Darren says:

            No fucking shit. That’s your contribution? That if I don’t like it I don’t have to watch. Brilliant.

            • 0-Fur is Murder says:

              Potty word, not nice! You’re the one argueing about the budget like you have a say in the matter. YOu hate the budget so much then don’t follow the team. We will all get along fine without you, trust me.

      • 0-Fur is Murder says:

        But he used a lot of words to say it so that is extra points.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I don’t really see where anyone acting like it’s good for them.

      I can tell you that me, myself, I don’t get worked up over it because there’s literally nothing I can do about it. This is what the team says it wants to do. $189 million is still a shitload of money, although I very much understand that much of that is already tied into other players. I’m going to sit back, watch, and discuss on here how the team is able to creatively address the holes it has. I believe the Yankees will be putting a team on the field that’s a perennial contender for the foreseable future.

      • Darren says:

        At the very least, there’s tacit acceptance of the budget with no protest whatsoever. I mean, I don’t expect Occupy Yankee Stadium, but on the other hand it seems pretty weak to get pissed at players for asking for “too much money” (including Cano, Swish, even Mariano for Gd’s sake) and how they can all go to hell becuase they don’t fit in our budget. It’s just weird to me how people side with management and ownership when it absolutely makes no sense to do so.

        • Who’s saying that they’re asking for too much money? They should ask for as much as they can get. That doesn’t mean the Yankees should be the ones to give it to them every time.

        • 0-Fur is Murder says:

          Okay, we’ll all join you. you drink the kool-aid first and then we will follow, promise!

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I guess I’m not seeing it, Darren, and I’m not getting involved in the name-calling here. Most of you regular names involved in this argument solidly contribute here every day. I wish you all peace there.

          I’m not endorsing or condoning it. I wish it wasn’t so, but I’m not running a baseball team (yet.) I’m choosing to be a fan, accept it at face value, and sit on places like this and figure out how to make it work. I’m certainly not pissed at any players. Even without a line in the sand, there’d be only so much I’d say Swisher is worth, etc. In the end, no, it’s not my money, but it makes for good talk on places like this.

    • 0-Fur is Murder says:

      Darren: MY cooment has nothing to do with winning or losing or anything other than it is their money, their team, their way. Get over it!

  13. David Brown says:

    I think the $189m goal really is a good idea. The reality of the matter is this team is getting old and expensive, and we cannot afford to see a disaster like we did during the CBS Era (Before Steinbrenner took over), or like we saw with the Knicks. I would be willing to take a step back and lose for a year or two (Particularly if there would be a way to get Alex Rodriguez off them team (I would even give Cano away for a bag of balls if some team would take that contract)). After that, we can get back to where we belong. The 2012 Draft was a good start in that direction.

  14. Robinson Tilapia says:

    DeJesus isn’t my favorite choice, but finding a platoon partner for him certainly isn’t the worst idea I’ve heard. I’d be on board if other options fail.

    I can also tell you that I wouldn’t be too worried about Adam Warren over this. That’s for sure.

    • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

      I don’t think Warren is anything great but right now he’s the number 6 starter so I’d be reluctant to just give him away like they did with Kontos last year.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I didn’t care about giving up Kontos. I slightly cared about giving him up for Chris Stewart when we had equally mediocre backup catchers ready to roll.

        Assuming the Pettitte and Kuroda spots get filled, whether by them, one of them, or someone else, Warren would be your seventh starter at best. I’m still not too concerned about losing him.

        • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

          You should care about giving up Kontos if you’re a Yankee fan.

          He’s no ace reliever by any stretch but he’s useful and cheap and to give him away for a sack of shit like Chris Stewart was asinine.

          As for Warren, even if they bring back Pettitte and Kuroda, with CC coming off elbow surgery, Kuroda 38 years old and coming off a career high in innings and Pettitte lucky to make 20-25 starts, Warren could very well be needed in the rotation at some point.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            By principle, I will never lose sleep over a fungible middle reliever. Sorry.

            • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

              Lose sleep over it or not, it was still a bad move.

              An organizationally crippling move, hardly, but still a bad move never the less.

              • Cris Pengiucci says:

                Agree it wasn’t the best move, as I think they could have used him to get something better than Chris Stewart. Not that he was bad or that Knotos was great (hell, there probably wasn’t even any place for Kontos, except perhaps as a replacement for Epply), but I think they should have gotten a better return.

                *Note: I am not actually qualified to determine what kind of return they should have gotten for Kontos. :-)

                • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

                  I’d prefer Kontos to Eppley too since he can actually get a lefty out when need be.

      • Mike HC says:

        Yea, I don’t think the Yanks are in position to be giving up their pitching depth either, even if they do re sign Pettitte and Kuroda. Both are one year guys.

  15. tipsie says:

    Dear NYY,

    If you trade for this guy, I want out.


  16. SRB says:

    Still think you are selling Warren a bit short- He is very young, has a great make up, and I hate trading home grown developed young “potential” talent for rentals (and not good ones at that)

  17. Robert says:

    Does anyone agree that the 4 owners of the Yanks are a factor now in future spending?

    • RetroRob says:

      Hal Steinbrenner runs the NY Yankees. After Hank’s A-Rod debacle, the put Hal in charge for their own good! It’s clear that he is the one calling the shots, not Hank or Jessica, etc.

      • Robert says:

        I agree Hal is calling the shots but the Pie is now split between the 4 Steinbrenner children hence Yankee austerity for the forseeable future!!!!

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Does anyone else besides me sometimes read “Hal Steinbrenner” as “Ha! Steinbrenner” and get very confused?

  18. Jersey Joe says:

    I’d rather just go with Dickerson, who is younger, faster, cheaper, almost as good a fielder and probably has more pop in his bat than DeJesus. If we were talking about Ichiro, I’d think a bit differently. However, a Dickerson/Hairston platoon makes the most sense IMO.

  19. greg says:

    think id rather just give it to dickerson

  20. Greg says:

    Rather go with Ichiro, Mostelier and Dickerson to go with Grandy and Gardner, with Ibanez at DH. Forget about these other “opportunities”.

  21. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    I guess the issue of DeJesus or See Dick Run or anybody else is if we can get Ichiro back? If he’s willing to come back on a fairly priced one year deal, the rest of these guys are non-starters.

    I feel pretty good about having 2 positions and 2 starters as the only real holes for the team (not worried about closer, it’s either Mo or plenty of decent in-house options).

    Resign Martin, use a kid as a backup, get Ichiro, use a kid (or a journeyman) as a 4th, get Andy and HIROK and let’s go!

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