|DAVID DeJESUS Strong 2011 2d half|
DeJesus signs with Cubs
Outfielder agrees to two-year, $10m pact
David DeJesus could become the starting right fielder for the Chicago Cubs after agreeing to a $10 million, two-year contract.
“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 yesterday. “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.’’
A .284 hitter during nine years with Kansas City and Oakland, DeJesus batted just .240 in his lone season with the Athletics. He hit .265 against righthanders 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 still could be in the market for another lefthanded hitter.
But Hoyer declined to comment on the possibility the Cubs could pursue the top lefthanded hitter on the market, first baseman Prince Fielder, or Albert Pujols.
DeJesus brought a 241-game errorless streak into the 2011 season, the longest active streak among big league outfielders at the time.
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.’’
13 new Hall candidates
Former American League batting champions Bernie Williams and Bill Mueller are among 13 newcomers on baseball’s 2012 Hall of Fame ballot, joining top holdovers Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, and Jeff Bagwell.
Williams won the AL batting title for the Yankees in 1998 and Mueller for the Red Sox in 2003.
Following the election of Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven last year, a relatively weak field of first-timers could give renewed hope to Larkin and Morris.
Twenty-seven players are on this year’s Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot, including 14 holdovers. A player needs at least 75 percent to gain election, and results will be announced Jan. 9.
The complete ballot: Bagwell, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Juan Gonzalez, Brian Jordan, Larkin, Javy Lopez, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Morris, Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Dale Murphy, Phil Nevin, Rafael Palmeiro, Brad Radke, Tim Raines, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Williams, Tony Womack, Eric Young.
A 12-time All-Star and the 1995 NL MVP, Larkin fell 75 votes shy with 62.1 percent last year in his second try, up from 51.6.
Morris, the winningest pitcher of the 1980s but burdened by a 3.90 career ERA, received 53.5 percent on his 12th try, up from 52.3 the previous year and 22.2 percent in his initial appearance. Players are eligible to appear on the writers’ ballot for up to 15 years.
Smith, third on the career saves list with 478, got 45.3 percent last year, down from 47.3 percent. Bagwell, who hit 449 homers, got 41.7 percent support in his first appearance.
McGwire, 10th on the career home run list with 583, received 19.8 percent of the vote last year in his fifth try, down from 23.7 in 2010 - a vote before he admitted using steroids and human growth hormone.
Palmeiro, among just four players with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, was on just 11 percent of the ballots last year in his first appearance. He received a 10-day suspension in 2005 for a positive test, claiming it was due to a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada. Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP implicated by Jose Canseco in steroids use, received 30 votes last year, just above the 5 percent threshold to stay on the ballot.
Angels get Iannetta
The Los Angeles Angels acquired catcher Chris Iannetta from the Colorado Rockies in a trade for righthander Tyler Chatwood.
The Angels dealt a top pitching prospect to acquire Iannetta, the latest candidate to solve the club’s catching woes.
Iannetta batted .238 last season with 14 homers, 55 RBIs, and a .370 on-base percentage, second among National League catchers. He also made just two errors in 112 games during his sixth season with Colorado.
The Angels struggled to get even meager offense behind the plate last season after trading slugger Mike Napoli.
Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson, and Hank Conger provided solid defense, but had miserable seasons at the plate, none batting above .209.
Chatwood went 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA as a rookie, slumping down the stretch after spending much of last season as the Angels’ fifth starter.
Broxton is on board
Righthanded reliever Jonathan Broxton was officially added to the Kansas City Royals’ roster after passing a physical, and infielder Jeff Bianchi was designated for assignment.
Broxton’s deal with the Royals guarantees the former Dodgers closer $4 million next season to pitch the eighth inning in front of closer Joakim Soria and solidify a young but talented bullpen that returns largely intact.
Broxton was shut down early last season with elbow trouble. He had surgery in September to remove bone spurs and should be ready by spring training.
Surgery for Moreland
Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland underwent arthroscopic surgery in Cleveland to remove a small pea-shaped bone from the base of his right wrist. The Rangers estimate it will take Moreland eight to 12 weeks to recover. He will be in a soft splint and begin rehabilitation in the next few days . . . Ramon Santiago agreed to a $4.2 million, two-year contract to remain with the Detroit Tigers. The 32-year-old infielder hit .260 in 101 games last season, playing mostly second base. He hit .295 after the All-Star break, helping Detroit pull away to win the AL Central . . . Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and baseball commissioner Bud Selig do not have to testify at a hearing next week on the team’s plan to sell future media rights, a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware ruled . . . The Chicago White Sox named Marco Paddy special assistant to general manager Ken Williams in charge of international operations. He will direct the White Sox’s Latin American scouting efforts, with an emphasis on international signings . . . The Tampa Bay Rays promoted Stan Boroski to bullpen coach, replacing Bobby Ramos.