DeJesus will receive $4.25 million in 2012 and '13, and the team has a $6.5 million option for 2014, with a $1.5 million buyout.
The 31-year-old hit .240 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs last season with the Oakland Athletics. It was statistically the worst season of a major league career that has spanned parts of nine years.
His best season was in 2008, when he hit .307 with 12 homers and 73 RBIs for the Kansas City Royals.
"We're very excited to sign David," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He's a player who does a lot of things very well, including running the bases and getting on base. And he doesn't strike out very much. These are all areas we wanted to improve on going into next year."
The former fourth-round pick of Kansas City, where he spent his first eight seasons, hits and throws left-handed.
DeJesus, who is a career .284 hitter, played 116 games in right field last season. Hoyer wouldn't commit to a position for him next season but has some idea.
"It's early, but we see him playing in right field," Hoyer said. "He has the ability to play all the positions but he's playing the corner outfield spots."
Kosuke Fukudome started the season in right field for the Cubs but was traded to the Indians, presumably to give Tyler Colvin a look there. But then-manager Mike Quade did not give Colvin consistent time and he finished with a .150 average, six homers and only 20 RBIs in 206 at-bats. He struck out 58 times, which doesn't fit the mold of what the new Cubs regime is trying to do at the plate.
DeJesus may lack in power but Hoyer says he "has the ability to do a lot of things."
"He's a player who's very versatile. We can work him in a lot of different spots in the lineup," Hoyer said. "Our priority was to get more balance in our lineup from the left side, and David is a hitter who helps us in that area."
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.