The Chicago Cubs have made their first impactful move of the offseason. They have signed former San Diego Padre Jon Jay. Jay played 90 games last season, mostly in center field. The deal is reportedly for one-year, and is valued at $8 million.
Cubs agree to terms with OF Jon Jay on 1-year, $8 million contract.
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune was among the first to report the signing.
Chicago Cubs Sign Jon Jay
Dexter Fowler, the Cubs 2016 center fielder, hit free agent this offseason. It’s uncetain whether Fowler was their primary target heading into the winter. After this signing, however, it appears that left-handed Jay may be a platoon bat with righty Albert Almora. Jay, 31, will now play for the third team of his career, after being with St. Louis Cardinals for six seasons and the Padres for just one.
Jay is a career .287 hitter, with an OBP of .352. He doesn’t have much pop, with just 31 career home runs. He’s always been a platoon-style player, as he was just a 1.1 WAR player last season. He’s not an outstanding defender either, with a -0.5 defensive WAR in 2016.
Although Jay doesn’t have outstanding numbers, he was putting together a nice season last year. Jay was hitting .296 and led the league in doubles, with 24, before suffering a broken arm, after being hit by a pitch, that caused him to miss two months.
Jay brings even more depth to Joe Maddon’s outfield next season. The Cubs will be getting Kyle Schwarber back, along with Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Jorge Soler, Matt Szczur, and likely Almora. Unless there are several injuries, Jay likely won’t be an everyday player, but will instead give Maddon the option to split time with Almora, along with a spot starter at any outfield spot.