After the latest Elias projections ranked David DeJesus as a Type B free agent, the decision about whether or not to exercise the $6 million option on DeJesus’s contract became academic.
DeJesus will return in 2011 to patrol the outfield after having a career year in 2010 where he’d hit .318/.384/.443/.827 in almost 400 plate appearances. He’d been shut down in July after tearing a ligament in his right thumb while going for a fly ball and colliding with the outfield wall.
|162 Game Avg.||162||703||93||180||35||8||11||72||58||90||.289||.360||.427||.787||108|
With a career OPS+ of 108, DeJesus has been an above average outfielder over his 3800 plate appearances with the Royals. Despite modest power, he’s been a solid producer on a bad team and was providing the Royals with solid production from the third slot in the lineup at the time of his injury.
Throughout his career, DeJesus has been injury prone, but his performance hasn’t suffered too badly from it, other than the lost games and at bats. A left-handed hitter with experience, a solid contact rate and a decent enough walkrate with occasional power is easily worth $6 million, so it’s an easy decision now, but there was a possibility that the Royals would let him walk if he’d be named a Type A free agent, which would command compensation in the form of two additional picks in the 2011 draft, taking the first round pick of the team who would sign DeJesus and also gaining a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds.
As a Type B free agent, DeJesus would still have given the Royals the supplementary pick only.
DeJesus has been around the Royals for a long time, and is recognizable as one of the faces of the franchise, so I’d personally like to see him around for part of the process of turning the corner to contending. As far as the Royals are concerned, he’ll be a nice affordable option for a top of the order outfielder.
The option does stand in the way of bringing in a new outfielder from the minor leagues, and with Alex Gordon needing to play everyday and DeJesus likely to play in right field, there’s a logjam now of options for other outfield spots. Mitch Maier and Gregor Blanco benefitted most from DeJesus’s injury, but in the last month, Jarrod Dyson has come on as a fan favorite. There’s also Jai Miller and minor leaguers Jordan Parraz and David Lough to consider as options. The competition figures to be fierce once spring training comes back around.