Look, I understand Andrew McCutchen might soon be on his way to Washington. And I get that with Yoenis CA�spedes re-upping in New York, Jay Bruce’s days as a Met are numbered. But there comes a time when you need to take a step back. There comes a time when you must look at the whole picture. Only after talking about Jon Jay and Matt Joyce can you move forward.
Look they’re baseball players too, okay? You may not want to talk about them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. That doesn’t mean they won’t still be there, swinging those tiny wooden sticks at even tinier balls. They will be, whether you’re watching or not. They’re perfectly adequate at what they do, too. And this past week they each found new homes.
Cubs Unofficially Move on From Dexter Fowler
While it wasn’t a given that Chicago wouldn’t re-sign Fowler following the season, it was a safer bet than most. Barring a miraculous turn of events, Chicago’s signing of Jon Jay all but guarantees that Fowler is done with the Cubbies. Yet something tells me Chicago will persevere. That’s not to say they won’t miss him plenty, but the hope here is clear. Ideally, Jay slots in until 22-year-old Albert Almora is ready to play every day.
And let’s not pretend Jay can’t be a solid player in the meantime. He isn’t likely to be as valuable as Fowler was the past two seasons, but he doesn’t need to be. And while his most valuable season came all the way back in 2012 (3.5 fWAR) he doesn’t need to be that, either. He just needs to be a role player.
You will not find a defensive metric that likes Jay, but he will be average at best, slightly below so at worst. He lacks range and certainly doesn’t possess a strong arm, but he’ll catch everything near him. He’ll be competent, and honestly that might be all the Cubbies require. Especially if he produces at the plate like he has more often than not.
Jay holds a career triple-slash of .287/.352/.384 (.737). The power numbers are almost non-existent but if you make contact and get on base, that’s okay. In six of his seasons he has done just thata��the exception coming in 2015. A broken forearm interrupted what turned out to be a semi-productive ’16 (.291/.331/.389; .728 OPS) in the middle of June. Before the injury, Jay’s numbers were slightly more attractive at .296/.345/.407 (.752 OPS).
The centerfielder turns 32 in March and isn’t likely to stay with the Cubs past 2017, but if all goes accordingly with the four-time Top 100 prospect that is Almora, he won’t have to.
Oakland Goes Full Oakland with Joyce
Let the record show that going a�?full Oakland” in this case is not meant as an insult. Quite the opposite, really. Look, they just added Matt Joyce on a two-year contract for only $11 million. That, like Joyce himself, is the very definition of the word solid.
Now he isn’t going to surprise us over the next two years; we know full-well who Matt Joyce is. His 2015 with the Los Angeles Angels aside (I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with the Angels), Joyce has been nothing if not consistent. Going back to Fangraphs, he was judged to have been worth 1.3 fWARa��which he put up despite only 293 plate appearances.
Like with Jay, there is no defensive metric that will paint Joyce in a positive light. That’s fine, as he’s not detrimental in a noteworthy way either. He’s a corner outfielder at most, but in Oakland could (and probably should) find himself utilized as a DH much more often. Put another way, on the most basic of levels this contract is infinitely smarter than whatever that three-year deal for Billy Butler was back in November of 2014.
Joyce holds a triple-slash of .242/.341/.429 (.770 OPS) over his nine-year career, and his coming off a season in which every one of those numbers were either equal or higher. But should we expect those numbers to dip once he racks up a couple hundred more plate appearances again? Not necessarily. Last time Joyce registered over 400 such appearances (2014), his final line looked like this: .254/.349/.383 (.732 OPS). Numbers like that won’t win any awards, but will provide some stability on offense for a club who won just 69 games and had the third-worst run production in the league last season.
Admit it, you got through that just fine. And now, we’re ready to move forward.