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Royals sign free agent John Jay

The Royals have signed outfielder Jon Jay to a one-year deal. The 32-year old left-handed hitter batted .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances for the Cubs last year, and was a 1.6 WAR player, according to Fangraphs. He has had an eight-year Major League career with the Cardinals, Padres, and Cubs, batting .288/.355/.383.

Jay was the last Major League centerfielder available in free agency. He signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last year, earning $8 million. Jay had an average walk rate last year at 8.5%, with a better-than-average strikeout rate of 18.5%. He has very little power, reaching double-digits in home runs just once in his career, and isn’t much of a base stealing threat. His defense in centerfield has been declining the last few seasons, but he is still a capable defender.

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To make room for Jay on the 40-man roster, the Royals placed pitcher Jesse Hahn on the 60-day disabled list with an ulner collateral ligament sprain. That injury is typically associated with Tommy John surgery. Hahn had Tommy John surgery as a junior at Virginia Tech University. The Royals acquired Hahn in January from the Oakland Athletics with pitcher Heath Fillmyer in exchange for Brandon Moss and Ryan Buchter.

“I’m prepared to play all three outfield spots,” Jay said. “And you can sprinkle me in at first base if you need to. For me it’s simple: I’ll be ready to work. If my name’s in the lineup, I’m ready to work.”

With the Royals, Jay should also see time as a designated hitter, which would give outfielders Jorge Bonifacio and Jorge Soler more time in the field.

“Without knowing him, the more homework I do on him, the more I like him,” Yost said. “The more people I talk to, the more it’s like, wow, this guy brings a lot to the table.”

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Categories: Sports