Royals Should Hang On To DeJesus

Although the Royals could net a good haul of prospects for David DeJesus, the outfielder has too much value to the future of the team.

David DeJesus’ name is on the lips of every Major League GM, as well as many fans of contending teams around the league. He would be a cheap addition to any outfield, and would instantly improve many teams’ offense and defense. For the Kansas City Royals, trading DeJesus would mean netting one, two or even three top-tier prospects who could be ready to contribute at the Major League level almost immediately.

It is tempting for the Royals to pursue such a move, especially since DeJesus is having a career year and his value has never been higher.

But they shouldn’t do it.

The Royals should try to sign DeJesus to a long-term contract. Say, something in the range of $40 million over five years. While they’re at it, they should go ahead and slap a “C” on the front of his jersey.

And they need to start working on it now.

David DeJesus is 30 years old this season, and some Royals fans may argue that signing him would go against a wise rebuilding philosophy.

However, no successful youth movement in Major League Baseball has ever worked without a veteran presence. David DeJesus could fill that role. Think about it: how many other veterans will even be here after next season? Gil Meche, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Kendall and Scott Podsednik will all likely be gone. Who else will serve as the leader of this team? Yuniesky Betancourt?

No, DeJesus should be the captain of this team.

Of course, veteran presence alone is not enough of a reason to lock up DeJesus long-term. But consider DeJesus’ age not as a minus, but a plus. If he signed a five-year contract, he’d be 35 at the end of it. That’s still well within the range of a productive Major League outfielder, and DeJesus has only shown signs of getting better in recent years.

DeJesus could be the heart and soul of this team as well as one of its most potent weapons. He could be the centerpiece of a powerful lineup that in a year or two could also feature Billy Butler, Mike Aviles, Mike Moustakas, Kila Ka’aihue, Eric Hosmer, Christian Colon, Wil Myers (a poor man’s Bryce Harper) and others.

One last argument: the Royals would be hard pressed to get the type of results out of a trade that they receive from DeJesus. Prospects are a crapshoot. DeJesus is a sure thing. Sure, since he’s playing extremely well this season, the Royals might have to overpay. That’s okay. Eight million a year over five years would probably do it, and soon, with the dropoff of some big contracts (notably Guillen’s), they have the money. And if negotiations stall, the Royals still have him under team control for one more season, which means one more year to work something out.

This team has a serious shot at contention in the next two to four years.

And they need David DeJesus to get there.

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