Jon Jay and the Cubs reached an agreement on a one-year deal that could spell the end of Dexter Fowler’s time in the Windy City.
It’s an $8 million contract for the former Cardinals and Padres outfielder making his first foray into free agency at the age of 31. The late-blooming talent will turn 32 before the season starts, likely the reason for the one-year commitment from the World Series champions.
Nevertheless, Jay will venture back into the spotlight after that Cardinals-to-Padres trade last December for Jedd Gyorko relegated him to regional-market-only status due to the Padres’ struggles. The Cubs will be getting a player that, while no longer necessarily young, bounced back nicely from a down 2015.
Jay hit .291/.339/.389 for the Pads last season, one abbreviated by a midseason broken forearm injury. This helped re-establish Jay as a viable free agent after the center fielder hit .210/.306/.257 in 2015, his sixth big-league campaign. For his career, Jay is a consistent contact hitter, sporting a .287/.352/.384 triple slash. He also does not have a staggering platoon split; his on-base percentage is .352 for his career against both right- and left-handed pitchers, giving the Cubs a left-handed-hitting option to pair with Albert Almora Jr. in center to go along with Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward at the corners.
Despite playing just 90 games, Jay came within one double of his career-high last season, hitting 26. He pushed his OBPs over .370 in both 2012 and ’14, and 2016’s return to his usual routine made him attractive to the league’s premier operation currently.
Fowler remains a free agent after rejecting the Cubs’ qualifying offer.