When I first saw that the Cubs had signed outfielder Jon Jay to a one year/$8 million l contract, my heart sank a little. At first, I thought the signing meant the end of the Dexter Fowler era. It still could, but the more I thought about it, the signing signals a first move by the Cubs.
I think, for right now, the key is not to overreact to the signing. Jay can still hit, but they didn’t sign him for his defensive prowess, which has been less than stellar the past couple years. However, his bat still has hits left in it.
Last year, at San Diego, Jay played in 90 games where he hit .291 with a .339 on-base percentage. Against right-handed pitchers, he hit .282 in .311 against lefties. But I think what some might be overlooking is that Jay can play all three outfield spots. Last year, he started 68 games in center, nine in right, and five in the left. Not every current Cubs outfielder can do that.
I think his signing provides a left-handed bat off the bench along with a veteran presence to spell Almora in center. My hope is that Jay was signed for depth. However, he’s one of many outfielders now.
The odds are slim for the return of Fowler. It might be wishful thinking, but at some point, the Cubs are going to have to make a deal with their vast depth. Now, the outfield consists of Schwarber, Zobrist, Heyward, Almora, Jay, Szczur, and Soler. That’s about two too many. Almora and Szczur are not going back to Iowa. Schwarber and Zobrist are not going anywhere and neither is Heyward.
The Jay signing is just the first move.
More moves are to come.