David DeJesus has agreed to a two-year contract with the Cubs and is expected to be Chicago’s starting right fielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the deal is worth $10 million and includes a team option for 2014, when DeJesus will be 34 years old.
DeJesus is coming off a career-worst season in Oakland, hitting just .240 with his first sub-.700 OPS, but prior to being traded to the A’s he was consistently a very good on-base threat and plus defensive outfielder during seven seasons for the Royals.
He lacks ideal power for a corner outfielder, but DeJesus has a .354 career on-base percentage, including an OBP above .345 every season from 2004 to 2010, and he’s capable of hitting 10-15 homers. He’s hardly a headline-grabbing pickup, but DeJesus has long been an underrated all-around player who’ll fit atop the Cubs’ lineup and the price is certainly right.
Oakland offered DeJesus arbitration, so the A’s will receive a supplemental first-round pick as compensation.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.