Chicago Cubs: David DeJesus

If he wants Cubs job, Maddon should have it

October, 24, 2014
10/24/14
4:37
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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Joe MaddonBrad Mangin/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesJoe Maddon's sudden availability could put some clubs -- including the Cubs -- in an awkward position.
CHICAGO -- The rampant speculation has started regarding former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. Will the Chicago Cubs – one year removed from firing their last manager – sign Maddon while dumping current skipper Rick Renteria?

The timing of Maddon’s Friday resignation has put teams in an awkward position. Only the Minnesota Twins currently have an opening, so a courtship of Maddon would have to take place behind the scenes. The Cubs, in particular, know the awkwardness of changing managers under contract, as the end of Dale Sveum's tenure in 2013 didn’t go smoothly. At the time, team president Theo Epstein – speaking honestly – left the door open for Sveum’s dismissal well before the season had ended, leaving people to wonder what would happen. Sveum was fired the day after the season ended.

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The Cubs have some cover to hide under as they don’t have to speak publicly on the matter until the general managers meetings in early November. Between now and then, they’ll need to decide if they want to hire one of the best managers in the game. Some teams have already stated on the record they aren’t switching managers, but as of Friday afternoon, the Cubs weren’t one of them. Of course, Maddon has to be interested in the job, but assuming he is, how can the Cubs pass up the chance?

“He has a mind for the National League game,” former Cub and current Ray David Dejesus said Friday. “And he puts players in positions to succeed. He’s as good as they come.”

That’s the sentiment around the league regarding Maddon, and although the Cubs signed Renteria to a three-year deal with two options, it simply doesn’t matter. It’s a unique situation to have to fire a manager you’ve already stated is coming back, but it fits the unique timing of Maddon’s resignation and availability.

Reports back in 2003 had Maddon finishing behind Terry Francona for the Boston Red Sox job when Epstein ran that team. And that came before Maddon had ever managed a game in the big leagues. Since then, he’s developed a reputation as one of the best in baseball at combining the necessary people/leadership skills and an understanding and use of new-age statistics.

While Renteria didn’t do anything wrong in his first year to warrant being removed, he also didn’t show that special quality that sometimes becomes apparent with a first-time manager. With some, you just know you’re seeing the beginning of someone special. Renteria could easily get there, but whatever that special quality is, Maddon already has it.

“He’s going to be missed around here,” Dejesus said. “But he’ll know what to do over there (National League) if he ends up there. He would be good wherever he goes.”

And that’s why you can’t simply expect the Cubs to make an announcement. Like the Cubs, other teams that are interested – besides potentially the Twins – will work quietly as well. No one wants to disrespect their current manager, considering he still might be their guy since only one team can sign Maddon. Plus, taking headlines away from the World Series is usually frowned upon. But many observers understand the Cubs are going to have a run in them soon enough. Unless a World Series-ready team jumps in and grabs him, Maddon to the Cubs makes all the sense in the world.

In making every tough decision, from releasing a popular player to firing a coach, the Cubs have always fallen back on the notion that it makes them better. They’ve publicly aspired to being the best organization in baseball. After getting past the minor awkwardness of moving on from Renteria, how can they not hire Maddon to be their manager?

2013 Cubs season review: Outfield

October, 2, 2013
10/02/13
12:51
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Jesse Rogers recaps the Cubs by position and looks at what changes might be in store for 2014.

Junior LakeBrian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesJunior Lake showed enough in his debut to be penciled in as a starter next season.
The Cubs outfield is a work in progress as two of the starters on opening day 2013 were traded before season’s end. But their replacements, Junior Lake and the combination of Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic, provided some intrigue in the final months of the year. Nate Schierholtz was a scouting success as the Cubs found the perfect left-handed gap hitter for Wrigley Field -- at least at their price point. Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus did their jobs well enough that other teams sought them out and the Cubs were able to cash in via trade by saving money.

The good: Soriano was finally tradeable, thanks to a hot finish to the first half of the season. As usual, when the weather warmed up so did Soriano -- and he stole a few bases along the way to prove his health. DeJesus was the Cubs' best at battling the opposing pitcher and drawing a walk, or at least a decent at-bat. By leaving, they opened the door for Lake who showed all the tools of being a good player and an unselfishness any manager would admire. His ability to hit the ball out of the park and then lay down a bunt, while still learning to play in the outfield, gives hope for his future. Schierholtz hit 21 home runs in his first year as a near full-time starter while Bogusevic remains an intriguing player since converting from pitcher. His ceiling might be higher than that of the better-known Sweeney.

The bad: Soriano’s start helped doom the Cubs offense as it has in the past. He hit .263 with one home run and two RBIs in April. DeJesus slowed down after an injury, forcing the Cubs into a salary dump instead of getting something back in a trade, while Schierholtz also finished the season quietly, hitting .177 in September with just one home run. Lake made some defensive mistakes in left field but was better when he played center.

Who’s next?: Lake seems entrenched for now but Jorge Soler and Albert Almora are seemingly the next two major names that could make their way to Wrigley Field. That won’t be next year, however. There’s always a chance former No. 1 draft pick Brett Jackson rebounds from some tough times, but unless Kris Bryant makes the move to the outfield full time, Almora and Soler have jobs waiting for them when they’re ready.

2014 outlook: Since some of the Cubs prospects won’t be ready in 2014 expect another transition year in the outfield with Lake becoming a mainstay if he can handle the everyday grind of a major league season. Lake showed more than enough to win a job out of spring training in left or center field. Schierholtz is unsigned, but Cubs property, so expect him back in right. Sweeney or Schierholtz could return as a backup but the Cubs might hit the free-agent market for a middle-of-the-road starter. A return of DeJesus via free agency isn’t out of the question, simply because he’s the type of hitter the Cubs like having around younger players. Lake is the key, though. Is he destined for a long career at Wrigley Field and how good can he be?

Podcast: David DeJesus

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
3:05
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Former Cubs outfielder David DeJesus discusses his strange week that included a trade across Wrigley Field from the Cubs to the Nationals and more.

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Cubs' veteran leadership is gone

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
9:25
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Save a buck, see a prospect.

That pretty much sums up the gist of the Chicago Cubs' trade of David DeJesus to the Washington Nationals on Monday. The Cubs get some salary ($2.5 million) relief and open up another outfield spot. Junior Lake is getting the playing time vacated by the trade of Alfonso Soriano and now Brian Bogusevic and Ryan Sweeney will get the bulk of the work over the final six weeks where DeJesus used to play. Both are coming off injuries.

But the Cubs lost their last seasoned veteran -- at least one who plays nearly every day and others look up to. Soriano and DeJesus were well-respected leaders. Now the Cubs have none.

“It’s always a big deal not to have that,” general manager Jed Hoyer admitted Monday afternoon. “I do like the aspect of seeing Bogusevic and Sweeney play.”

(Read full post)

Cubs GM: DeJesus could return in future

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
6:37
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Although the Chicago Cubs traded outfielder David DeJesus to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later on Monday, it doesn’t mean his career with the Cubs is over.

“For the next 39 games it was the right decision, but that doesn’t close the door on David and the Cubs in the future because he represents himself well,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said not long after the move. “He’s a pro.”

DeJesus was in the final year of a two-year deal which includes a team option for $6.5 million in 2014. Otherwise the Nationals can buy him out for $1.5 million. That, along with the approximately $1 million he’s owed this season, saved the Cubs $2.5 million.

“A disproportionate amount of his two-year deal comes at the end of his contract so that was certainly a factor,” Hoyer said.

If the Nationals don’t pick up his option it would make DeJesus a free agent, opening the door for a return to the Cubs.

“We like David a lot,” Hoyer said. “Would love to talk to him about bringing him back at some point. He’s a good mentor for the young guys and I like his approach at the plate.”

DeJesus is hitting .250 with six home runs and 27 RBIs to go along with a .330 on-base percentage.

DeJesus: Castro benching was right move

August, 18, 2013
8/18/13
1:46
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The first person to console Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro after he was benched in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals after a mental gaffe in the field was veteran outfielder David DeJesus.

But just because DeJesus tried to make Castro feel better doesn’t mean he disagreed with manager Dale Sveum’s move.

“We know Starlin is trying out there, it’s just one of those hiccups,” DeJesus said Sunday morning. “Dale, I think, did the right thing in taking him out of the game.”

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Reds 2, Cubs 0

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
9:55
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Cubs’ 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night at Wrigley Field:

How it happened: A two-run homer by Brandon Phillips was the difference in the game as Travis Wood and Matt Latos threw well for their respective teams. Wood lasted eight innings, giving up just four hits and one walk, but Phillips’ home run in the seventh was enough for the Reds. The Cubs only had six hits of their own, threating to score on just a couple of occasions. Junior Lake was thrown out at third trying to advance from first on an Anthony Rizzo single in the sixth to kill that potential rally, and the Cubs went quietly the rest of the game.

What it means: It’s not the first time the Cubs have come home from a road trip and were silent on offense. Manager Dale Sveum discussed his team’s home woes before the game, unsure of the problem. The Cubs were better at home than on the road last season but have reversed that trend somewhat this year. ... Wood corrected some second-half woes with a solid performance, lowering his ERA back to 3.00.

Outside the box: Lake played centerfield on Monday and David DeJesus played left. It’s the first time since a healthy DeJesus returned to the lineup that Lake started in center. It could be a sign of things to come. … Scott Baker threw a bullpen session on Monday and will resume a minor league rehab stint if all is well. ... Prospect Jorge Soler was being examined for his injured foot on Monday in Arizona to determine a course of action for the rest of the minor league season.

What’s next: Game 2 of the series with the Reds takes place on Tuesday night, featuring Jeff Samardzija taking on Homer Bailey.

Cubs' Navarro won't need DL stint

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
7:08
PM CT
By Rob Rains
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Archive
ST. LOUIS -- An MRI on the right ankle of Chicago Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro revealed a grade one sprain and he will not need a trip to the disabled list.

Navarro was hurt in a home-plate collision with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley on Wednesday. The Cubs called up catcher J.C. Boscan from Triple A Iowa before knowing how long Navarro will be out.

The injury to Navarro has focused attention on the fact the Cubs do not have many prime prospects at catcher in their farm system, something general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged when speaking with the media before Friday's game.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 6, Cubs 2

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
6:48
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

How it happened: The Dodgers scored early and often against Travis Wood on a rare off day for the Cubs lefty. Wood lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits, five walks and five runs. It didn't help that David DeJesus made a couple of miscues in center field, which helped the Dodgers jump out to a 5-1 lead after 3 1/2 innings. Nick Punto drove in two runs with two hits, and Yasiel Puig was on base three times and drove one home. The Cubs' star on offense was Junior Lake, who went 4-for-5. Cole Gillespie had three hits, but the Cubs managed only single runs in the second and fourth innings -- despite getting 14 hits for the game. Gillespie and Darwin Barney had the RBIs in for the Cubs.

What it means: Lake told reporters on Thursday night he was starting to hit pitches he previously had trouble with, and now he's back on a hot streak, raising his average to .364. He's getting hits on both fastballs and off-speed pitches, which is a good sign for his development. ... There isn't a lot of concern with Wood, but he simply hasn't been as dominant a pitcher lately. This might have been his worst performance evidenced by his four consecutive walks in the third inning.

Outside the box: Lake became the first Cub since 1916 to have two four-hit games within his first 16 in the big leagues. He's the first major leaguer to do it in a decade. ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and second baseman Mark Ellis were both ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the fourth inning.

What's next: Game 3 of the series takes place Saturday at 3:05 p.m. CT featuring a pitching matchup of Jeff Samardzija and Chris Capuano.

Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 6, Cubs 4

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
10:26
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

How it happened: Both Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo homered twice, but the Dodgers put up a three-run sixth to take the lead for good. As starter Chris Rusin began to tire, L.A. mounted an attack. Jerry Hairston's two-run single put L.A. in front for the first time. Adrian Gonzalez singled home another run in that inning before David DeJesus threw out Yasiel Puig at the plate. Lake and Rizzo hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning and then Lake did it again in the third. Rizzo's second home run came in the eighth. Puig homered in the ninth, his 11th of the season.

What it means: Lake may have some holes in his swing, but the combination of power and athleticism continues to be impressive -- at least the first time through the league. He also caught a ball as he jumped into the wall in foul territory in left. Rizzo has been streaky and seems to have found his swing again going to the opposite field on both of his home runs. He's 8-for-17 on the homestand with three home runs. Rusin is trying to work his way into the core group and threw well before tiring. His first two innings were impressive when he froze Puig for strike three in the first and then struck out Hanley Ramirez looking in the second.

Outside the box: As a reminder of his youth, according to the Cubs, Rizzo is the first player since Ron Santo to hit 15 home runs in consecutive seasons before turning 24. He hit Nos. 16 and 17 on Thursday. ... During the game, the Cubs confirmed they had signed 16-year old Dominican Republic outfielder Eloy Jimenez. He's considered a top international talent.

Up next: Travis Wood takes on Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 2 of the series on Friday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. CT

Anthony Rizzo's production on the rise

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
12:45
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The 2013 season has had many twists and turns for Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Rizzo
Brian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesAnthony Rizzo is the first Cubs player to have 31 doubles before August since Derrek Lee in 2005.
After signing a seven-year $44 million deal earlier this season, Rizzo has struggled to stabilize his approach at the plate. Judging by his last five games, however, it appears the 23-year-old may be turning the corner on what has been a somewhat frustrating season. Rizzo had a double and a two-run home run in the Cubs' 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

"This has been an ever-going process," Rizzo said. "You just have to show up every day and prepare. I just try to grind the at-bats out and go from there."

Rizzo has had quality at-bats during this recent stretch. He has seven hits and four walks in his last 18 official at-bats. After a strong May in which he hit .295, Rizzo slumped to .231 in June and .198 in July.

"I just have been hitting the ball well for a little while now," Rizzo said. "I have been putting good swings on the ball and taking the walks have been a big plus as well."

Oddly enough, Rizzo's power numbers have been excellent to this point of the season, despite a batting average hovering around .240. He ended July with 31 doubles and 15 home runs for the season. His doubles rank third in the National League.

"I want to be the full package," Rizzo said. "No one wants to just be good at one thing or the other, you want to do everything well. This is a process where you learn from what you don't do well. You just got to bust it every day."

Manager Dale Sveum has been adamant all season about the importance of Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro leading the team's offense. Both homered in Wednesday's win.

"Those are two pieces of the puzzle to drive in runs and get hits," Sveum said. "It was like us trading for a new player getting [David] DeJesus back in the lineup. He just gives you those quality at-bats and he is one guy all year that has hit with men in scoring position."

Rizzo became the first Cubs player to reach 31 doubles before August since Derrek Lee in 2005. Rizzo has 97 hits, 48 of which have gone for extra bases.

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 6, Brewers 1

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
11:09
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night:

How it happened: The Cubs' offense woke up with multiple-run innings in the third, fourth and sixth. Anthony Rizzo homered in the third and Starlin Castro did the same in the fourth. After an 1-hour, 6-minute rain delay, the Cubs put up two more in the sixth on a two-run single by David DeJesus. Edwin Jackson sailed through the first 5 2/3 innings until the rain came, but he returned after the delay and retired seven more batters. His only blemish was an opposite-field double in the eighth that scored the Brewers' only run. Jackson gave up eight hits in eight innings, walking none and striking out four.

What it means: With the core and some ancillary players intact after the trade deadline, the Cubs will need to find this kind of offense the rest of the season, especially without Alfonso Soriano around anymore. Seeing Rizzo and Castro homer in the same game, as Jackson continues to rebound from a rough start on the mound, has to be a good sign for the front office. They are committed to these players both short and long term and they need to produce. On Wednesday they did.

Outside the box: Rizzo and Castro homered in the same game for the second time this season and third time in their careers. ... Darwin Barney sat for the second consecutive game as Luis Valbuena started at second base. ... Cody Ransom broke an 0-for-22 skid with a sixth-inning double.

What's next: The first-place Los Angeles Dodgers come to town for a four-game series starting Thursday night when Chris Rusin faces Ricky Nolasco.

David DeJesus in 2014 as well?

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
7:32
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs center fielder David DeJesus isn't going anywhere this season, and it sounds like if both sides have their way, Dejesus will be back roaming the outfield at Wrigley Field in 2014.

"He's a great guy in the clubhouse," general manager Jed Hoyer said after the major league trade deadline passed Wednesday afternoon. "We obviously like the way he manages his at-bats and he's versatile in the outfield so there's a ton of positives and we'd love to have him in a Cubs uniform."

[+] EnlargeDavid DeJesus
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhDavid DeJesus is happy to remain a Cub and says he wants to be around when the team starts winning.
The popular DeJesus drew interest from several teams, according to sources, but instead of moving him, the Cubs just might keep him through next year at least. They have a club option on him for $6.5 million.

"When you start the year with guys, you want to finish it off, no matter the good or bad," Dejesus said. "Inside the clubhouse, we're tight-knit. I want to be the type of guy that stays with the team and wins with the team."

It's well documented Dejesus is the type of player Hoyer and the front office covet. He gets on base and has productive at-bats. This season he's among the league leaders seeing 4.06 per at-bat.

"My job is to produce and I feel that I can still do that as well," Dejesus said.

His wife, Kim, showed her nerves regarding the trade deadline on twitter (@KimDejesus9) throughout the week, but in the end she'll stay in her hometown at least through the end of the season.

"Most guys would be blessed to play in their hometown for two straight years and hopefully many more," David DeJesus said. "We're excited to be here."

And DeJesus is starting to see the Cubs' plan come together. It's not as clear when you're in the middle of it, but while he was out of the lineup because of a shoulder ailment earlier this season, DeJesus began to see what the plan is all about.

"Sitting back when I was injured, I was talking with Theo [Epstein] when [draft pick Kris] Bryant was here and you can see ... these little pieces start to fit together," DeJesus recalled. "I was telling him when you take a step back you can look at it, 'OK, these are starting to come together. These [prospects] are going to come up at the same time together and blossom together.' That's how winning teams stay winning teams for a long time."

And DeJesus wants to be a part of it.

"I love it here," he said.

Cubs still buying young

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
8:37
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein doesn't see the trade of Alfonso Soriano to the New York Yankees on Friday as anything more than just another step in the rebuilding process despite the club now being in total of control of its players for the first time in years.

No one on the roster can veto a trade or dictate where they want to go now that Soriano has been moved.

“I don’t look at this as a watershed moment or transformative moment at all,” Epstein said in a conference call with reporters. “This is just the right time for Sori to move on and open up some at-bats for Junior Lake.”

(Read full post)

Expect Cubs to be active in deadline deals

July, 25, 2013
7/25/13
9:30
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
PHOENIX -- You can count on the Chicago Cubs continuing as sellers on the open baseball market before the window on trading without putting a player through waivers closes six days from now.

With many of his players’ contracts expiring, president of baseball operation Theo Epstein has been transparent about his plans to keep building his organizations base with younger players.

[+] EnlargeJames Russell
Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

Cubs president of baseball operation Theo Epstein hints there will be more deals closer to the trade deadline. Left-handed reliever James Russell already has been courted by five teams, according to sources.

“We have received some calls on some other potential opportunities, but nothing really concrete yet,” Epstein said Wednesday. “If we do anything, it will probably be closer to the deadline.”

The Cubs have outfielders with contracts set to expire in 2013; David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz are solid outfielders who bring multiple tools on offense and defense. And Alfonso Soriano already is close to returning to the New York Yankees, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday night.

Bullpen pitchers Kevin Gregg and James Russell have been getting a lot of looks, according to sources who have been watching the Cubs for the past three weeks. Gregg is a free agent after the season. Russell has three full years of arbitration left before becoming a free agent.

“Potentially, we will be hearing from people on the guys who we don’t control after this year,” Epstein said. “It would make more sense moving those guys.”

There is little question Gregg has had a terrific season as the team’s closer, going 19-for-22 in save chances. However, it has been Russell who has been more in demand for many of the contending clubs.

According to numerous sources, at least five teams have called about Russell. The Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks are known to have interest in the left-handed pitcher.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167