OAKLAND, CALIF. (AP) - David DeJesus has been on the Oakland Athletics’ radar for a while now. They like his near-perfect defense, baserunning and consistent bat.
The A's acquired the outfielder from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday for right-hander Vin Mazzaro and minor league lefty Justin Marks. General manager Billy Beane immediately said he will start in one of the corner outfield spots.
“He’s a guy we’ve always liked,” Beane said. “He’s been a well-respected guy and does everything very well. I think he’s just another good player to add to the mix of players out there.”
DeJesus, while not the power hitter Oakland is seeking, batted .318 with five homers and 37 RBIs in 91 games with Kansas City this year. He was sidelined for the final two months following right thumb surgery.
Beane said the A's researched his surgery and physical therapy information and are confident DeJesus will have no restrictions this winter getting ready for spring training. A left-handed hitter, DeJesus had resumed taking batting practice late in the season.
The 30-year-old DeJesus _ who started 67 games in right field, 19 in center and one in left _ didn’t have an error in 88 games overall in the outfield. He has a 241-game errorless streak dating to his last one on Sept. 15, 2008.
What does this mean for the other outfielders on the roster _ such as Conor Jackson and Rajai Davis? Beane said with the team’s injury history in recent seasons, he doesn’t plan to unload everybody.
“We are a little bit gun shy because of the injuries. We have to be careful,” he said.
Mazzaro had three stints with the A's in 2010. He was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 10 only to be called back up four days later. Oakland already has solid, proven starters in Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. Ben Sheets, signed to a $10 million, one-year deal before last season, won’t pitch in 2011 following elbow surgery but hasn’t ruled out trying to return to baseball the next year.
Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma could fit into that fifth starter spot. Oakland won a bid for negotiating rights to the pitcher from the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League, Major League Baseball announced Monday.
The A's then got 30 days to reach a contract agreement.
“We think we have a little bit of depth,” Beane said. “Hopefully the negotiations with Iwakuma are successful and we should be in pretty good shape.”
The 29-year-old righty was 10-9 with a 2.82 ERA in 28 games this season with four complete games and one shutout. He struck out 153 and walked 36 in 201 innings.