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UPDATE: Rays, David DeJesus agree to multiyear deal

Nov 3, 2013, 9:23 PM EDT

David DeJesus AP

12:24 p.m. EST Update: DeJesus told the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin that he has come to terms on a two-year pact with the Rays that includes an option for 2016.

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The Rays will hang on David DeJesus, according to Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, exercising his $6.5 million option rather than giving him a $1.5 million buyout.

Topkin also hears that the two sides are discussing a multiyear deal.

It’s a mildly surprising move from the Rays. DeJesus is worth the money, especially since the buyout essentially makes it a $5 million decision, but it takes away a great deal of the team’s flexibility, both financially and from a roster standpoint. Any talk of moving Desmond Jennings back to left field would now seem to be dead. DeJesus will become the primary left fielder against right-handers, which makes Matt Joyce mostly a DH. Ben Zobrist will play second against righties and maybe move back to the outfield against some lefties.

DeJesus, who turns 34 in December, hit .260/.328/.413 in 104 at-bats for the Rays and .251/.327/.402 in 391 at-bats overall last season. He’ll likely be viewed strictly as a platoon player by the Rays after hitting .174, .149 and .161 against lefties the last three years.

If a multiyear deal gets done, $10 million for two years would be a reasonable guess.

  1. moogro - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Of course.

  2. Mark - Nov 3, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    I don’t know why this is that surprising. Pretty much everybody expected them to pick up the option.

  3. drewzducks - Nov 3, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Overspend, from a small market perspective.

  4. NYTolstoy - Nov 4, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    not sure why they went 2 years with a 3rd year option. If the team doesn’t have that much to spend it seems odd they spend it heat. He’s not exactly a game changer. Unless Rays fans understand this position? I surely don’t

    • indaburg - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:10 AM

      I am surprised, as someone who closely follows the Rays, by this move. For a team that can’t spend much, I believe this is a slight overpay for a platoon player. Maybe they’re planning on trading him?

      • buddaley - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:54 AM

        I don’t think it is all that surprising or an overpay. The Rays don’t enter the large sweepstakes, and do seek bargains, but have demonstrated more than once a willingness to pay in the $5-10 million range for a player they think can help.

        And in this case, DeJesus is the long part of a platoon meaning he probably gets at least 400-450 plate appearances. And he is a solid defensive left fielder who can be used as a defensive replacement on occasion when not starting.

        In 2013 his contributions were estimated at 2.1 WAR at Fangraphs (1.6 at BB-Ref), and the going rate is about $6 million per WAR I think. The Rays are paying $5 million in 2014 (given the sunk cost of the buyout). I am guessing the next two years will not be much different.

      • indaburg - Nov 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        Buddaley, I should clarify that I personally think DeJesus is worth it. However, knowing the Rays’ history, it seems like an overpay by their standards and economic model. They run a very tight budget with slim margins, and Sternberg has already said he plans to keep salaries low due to poor attendance numbers. Of course, he could be lying but nothing in their team history indicates that they spend like an average team.

      • stex52 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:34 AM

        So help me a bit with this, Indy. I want to make sure I got it right. Myers will play right. Jennings is now locked in CF. For left field you have a choice of DeJesus, who can’t hit lefties, or Joyce, who can’t hit lefties. So you play Zobrist, who does switch hit, but has mediocre power for an outfielder, against lefties.

        Don’t get me wrong. Zobrist is one of my favorite players.

        But I’m guessing that teams are going to line up their pitching some to go leftie against the Rays.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM

        I think the Rays are moving towards basically standing pat, that the 2014 Rays will look a lot looks the 2013 Rays. Obviously I don’t have any inside info, but I think they now re-sign Loney and pay Price his arbitration money. They will need a new closer, might be looking to sign Crain as most other interested teams will want him as a set up guy and thus he might take less to be the Rays’ closer. There will be some role player movement, but I think that’s all. (This of course changes if someone offers a trade that upgrades the team for 2014.)

      • buddaley - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        stex52, the Rays may use Sean Rodriguez to platoon in LF with DeJesus. He hits lefties well and has played well enough defensively. There are also other options available including putting Zobrist there and using Beckham at 2B vs. lefties, or again Sean Rodriguez at 2B instead of LF. And that is only if there are no other moves. There may be some inexpensive RH hitters available to help the Rays.

        I do understand your point Indaburg. I think you may underestimate the willingness of the Rays to spend when they think the value is there. Going back to posting for Iwamura (and outbidding at least 2 other teams) and then desperately seeking DHs at $5-8 million salaries as well as other signings that seemed more expensive than many expected (Roberto Hernandez last year?). You are certainly right that the Rays will not squander money, but they will invest it is useful players, and $5 million for a probable 2 WAR player is more an investment than an expense.

        Also, as a solid defender with a broad range of skills, DeJesus fits the mold of a typical Rays player Friedman likes to sign.

    • buddaley - Nov 4, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      I should have mentioned that another possibility for a platoon outfielder is Brandon Guyer. His progress has been slowed by injuries and a preference for experience in the 4th outfielders, but his minor league numbers have generally been pretty good.

      He will be 28 in January, so his prospect status is dubious, and he has now played in AAA for 3 years, but part of that was because he got only 97 plate appearances in 2012 due to injury. In the other 2 seasons, with 443 and 405 PAs, his lines were .312/.384/.521 and .301/.374/.458. He doesn’t walk enough, but neither does he strike out inordinately, and he can play some CF in a pinch. He also steals bases at a decent rate (16/6; 22/3), so he has reasonably broad based skills and might serve as the short side platoon, replacing Fuld perhaps on the roster.

  5. NatsLady - Nov 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I still don’t know why the Nats didn’t keep DeJesus when they had him for that 2 minutes. Quality player, not too expensive… Who was that prospect they got?

    • buddaley - Nov 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      The Nats got Matthew Spann, a tall, thin 22 year old LH pitcher who pitched in the Midwest (Low A) league in 2013. He was a 25th round draft choice out of High School in 2010 and has moved up one level each year. He has not appeared on any top 20 lists of Rays prospects as far as I remember.

      I don’t know what the scouting reports say. His numbers are not bad but not impressive either. It seems that he was moved into the bullpen last year although he did start a few games.

  6. rugdaniels - Nov 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Good for him, now back to Mrs. DeJesus’s instagram.

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