Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/30/11

Winter meetings are just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of moves to ponder. I’ll do my best to avoid discussing the impact of relief pitcher signings because players that might be closers now (Daniel Bard) might not be closers very soon (Ryan Madson to Red Sox?). As for the rest of the positions, there’s much we can glean early on before the calendar reads 2012.

David DeJesus Signs with the Cubs

David DeJesus became the first addition of the Theo Epstein era in Chicago. This move is notable for two reasons. First, DeJesus will be playing in an offense-friendly ballpark for the first time in his now nine-year career after previous stops in Kansas City and Oakland. He had a down year offensively in 2011 due in large part to some bad luck (.274 BABIP) and injuries (torn thumb ligament) so his stock is already down. He has the potential to bat near .300 with a solidish 70-plus runs and RBI, and he has been a double-digit home run guy for the last several seasons. With a little help from Wrigley Field, we could see a career high in home runs from DeJesus this season. According to StatCorner.com, Kauffman Stadium has a park factor of just 79 for left-handed batters (league average is 100) while The Coliseum in Oakland rates as 89. Wrigley Field scores a 119.

Second, DeJesus officially blocks minor league standout Brett Jackson. Adding DeJesus to a  crowded outfield containing incumbents Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin will cost Jackson playing time at the major league level. With the team unlikely to be competitive in 2012, it doesn’t make sense to call up your best hitting prospect just to sit him on the bench. Jackson could use some more seasoning in triple-A where his 29.8 percent strikeout rate screams big league bust. Of course, it’s no secret that the Cubs would love to move Soriano’s contract. If that happens then Jackson will get a chance in spring training. For now he’s on the outside looking in.

Chris Iannetta to the Angels, Ramon Hernandez to the Rockies?

The Rockies have had their eye on free agent catcher Ramon Hernandez, and now that the new CBA downgrades him from a Type A free agent the team can finally afford to offer him a contract. Chris Iannetta has always had good pop in his bat, but his career .235 average pales in comparison to Hernandez’s .297 and .282 averages over the last two seasons. Tyler Chatwood, who the Rockies received in exchange for Iannetta, is a fantasy nobody.

For the Angels, Iannetta’s bat will be a welcome addition for fans that miss Mike Napoli. The Angels are rather crowded behind the plate with Jeff Mathis, Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson on the 40-man roster. Mathis is arbitration eligible and likely due around $1.8MM (he made $1.2MM last season) but manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry DiPoto both know the value of Mathis’ defense. Conger is one of the team’s top prospects but few believe he’s ready to be an everyday catcher. Wilson is likely the odd man out here. Either way, Angels Stadium is nowhere near the hitter’s haven that Coors Field is and Iannetta will likely platoon with whichever catcher the team deems to be his worthy colleague. Downgrade Iannetta.

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