It goes without saying that the Chicago Cubs outfield is going to look very different pretty soon, even if it might not be this year.
Obviously, the transformation won’t be fully complete until the team rids itself of/waits out Alfonso Soriano‘s contract, but newcomer Nate Schierholtz is only on a one-year deal, and kids like Jorge Soler and Albert Almora will be looking to knock on the door over the next couple of seasons.
Then there’s David DeJesus. The outfielder is in a contract year (assuming the Cubs don’t pick up his $6.5 million option), and is essentially keeping the seat warm for Brett Jackson while the prospect figures out how to not strike out at a 41.5 percent clip (over 142 PA in 2012) in the majors.
Assuming that Chicago will look to start the Jackson era in earnest sometime this season, that would make Dejesus an idea trade target — and there might be a viable trade partner for the 33-year old’s services, too.
As Rany Jazayerli of Rany On The Royals discussed, a homecoming for DeJesus back to the Kansas City Royals may end up being an ideal fit, as the veteran can serve as a left-handed platoon partner for Jeff Francoeur, who posted his worst career season in 2012 (-1.2 fWAR, .665 OPS).
The Royals are looking to contend this year, but they’re going to have a much more difficult time doing so if Frenchy’s struggles continue into 2013. DeJesus would give them a solid bat vs. RHP (.816 OPS over career), while Francoeur’s career .820 OPS vs. LHP would be better utilized.
In terms of commitment, a potential deal works out too, as both players will likely be free agents by the end of 2013, meaning the Royals can give it a shot without being on the hook for much.
There’s really no reason for the Cubs to hang on to any piece in their current starting outfield, but assuming that they’re not going to just give them away for nothing, what might it take to get a deal done?
Well, any one of the Royals many, many controllable arms in the pen would be nice — perhaps something like a package involving Carlos Marmol to land someone like Tim Collins and a secondary piece (positional prospect) might work out.
Either way, the new era in the outfield is coming soon for the Cubs, and it might just be DeJesus — and not Soriano — whose departure will signal the first major step towards it.