The rebuilding Kansas City Royals signed free-agent outfielder Jon Jay to a 1-year, $3 million deal on Thursday. The Royals moved pitcher Jesse Hahn to their 60-Day Disabled List to make room for Jay.
In 2017, Jay hit well with a reliable .296 batting average with a .374 on-base percentage in 433 plate appearances for the Chicago Cubs. Jon Jay also put up a 1.1 WAR and a 96 OPS+ (100 is league average) to accompany his 112 hits, 34 RBI, and .749 OPS. He will turn 33 later this month.
While Jay is not a standout player in the batter’s box, he is a stud in the outfield. Jay is a solid defensive asset as an outfielder and can play all three positions (center field, left field, and right field). While he is not considered to be a Gold Glove-caliber player, he is a solid defender in the outfield and will have no problem working his way into Kansas City’s outfield. `
The Kansas City Royals have begun an inevitable rebuild this offseason and have lost players such as Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain to free agency. Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar are likely soon to follow. Kansas City just recently acquired a cheap replacement for former first baseman Eric Hosmer in Lucas Duda, and have now replaced Lorenzo Cain, who went to the Milwaukee Brewers in free agency, with Jon Jay. The Royals are not expected to be good by any means in 2018 and will likely play the role of a punching bag in the AL Central.
The Kansas City Royals now have a strong defensive outfielder with average hitting ability to utilize during an inevitably awful season. Kansas City is a great landing spot for Jay who will get a great deal of playing time in a meager outfield, and will be a veteran presence to a team that is definitely going to need it in this upcoming season. While he is not a top of the line player, Jay will get the job done for the Royals, and help them progress through their rebuild in 2018.