The Cubs announced Tuesday the team agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free agent outfielder Jon Jay.
Jon Jay’s deal with the Cubs is for $8 million and does not include any options. Jay is the left-handed complement the Cubs were looking for to pair with Albert Almora Jr. in center field next season.
The addition of Jon Jay would appear to signal the Cubs will not pursue Dexter Fowler this off-season.
According to Comcast SportsNet, the signing of Jay “doesn’t slam the door shut on Fowler’s return” but it would take “something unexpected happening again” for him to re-sign with the Cubs.
With the addition of Jon Jay, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 38 players.
Jon Jay, 31 (turns 32 on March 15), is a career .287 hitter (777-for-2,703) with 374 runs scored, 15 triples, 31 homers, 253 RBI and 45 stolen bases in 847 games covering the last seven seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (2010-15) and San Diego Padres (2016). He has posted a .352 on-base percentage and a .384 slugging percentage, rounding up to a .737 OPS, and has batted better than .290 in five of his seven seasons. In 2016, Jay hit .291/.339/.389/.728 (101-for-347) with 26 doubles, a triple, two home runs and 26 RBI despite being limited to 90 games due to a broken right forearm.
The left-handed batter and thrower owns a career .996 fielding percentage in center field, the highest mark for any active player (minimum 500 games) at the position. In his career, Jay has played 594 games in center field, 166 games in right field and 80 games in left field, totaling a .995 fielding percentage at all three positions, tying Jacoby Ellsbury for the best mark among active outfielders.
Jay broke into the big leagues in 2010 and batted .300 (86-for-287) with 19 doubles, four homers and 27 RBI in 105 games. A year later, he saw action in a career-high 159 games and batted .297/.344/.424/.768 (135-for-455) with 24 doubles and a career-best 10 home runs in helping the Cardinals to the 2011 World Championship. Jay posted a career-best .305 batting average (135-for-443) in 117 games in 2012 and had a career-best 75 runs scored, 27 doubles and 67 RBI in 157 games in 2013 to help St. Louis to another National League pennant.
The five-foot-11, 195-pound Jay was originally selected by St. Louis in the second round of the 2006 Draft out of the University of Miami. He was acquired by San Diego for Jedd Gyorko on December 8, 2015. Jay is a native of Miami, Florida.