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Why the Red Sox (and others) are interested in DeJesus

07.14.10 at 7:09 am ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Blue Jays catcher John Buck is hardly unbiased on the subject of David DeJesus. The two were Royals teammates from 2004-09, and even now that Buck has gone to Toronto, he still considers the Kansas City outfielder one of his best friends in the game.

Even so, after years spent watching DeJesus play, Buck feels like he is in a good position to appreciate the outfielder’s talents. Indeed, Buck suggests that DeJesus has been underrated by the baseball world as a result of his relative obscurity, and that he would represent a great all-around fit — offensive, defensive and in the clubhouse — for a team in contention.

“I don’€™t think he gets enough credit,” said Buck. “He does it so subtly, because I think he’€™s a good ballplayer. He goes about his business. He’€™s not too flashy. He just gets it done and stays consistent. At the end of the year, he’€™s got really good numbers.

“I don’€™t think I’€™ve ever seen anyone have as consistent of at-bats as he does. He never gives away an at-bat. He always seems to be putting competitive at-bats, no matter what the situation is, no matter what type of pitcher it is. Plus, he was in the running for a Gold Glove last year [even though he plays] in left field.”

DeJesus, 30, is currently enjoying perhaps the finest of his seven big league seasons. He is hitting .326 with a .395 OBP, .460 slugging mark and .855 OPS, all of which would represent career highs. He has a grinding approach to his plate appearances, averaging 3.96 pitches per plate appearance.

“You watch him, he’€™ll see 10 pitches in an at-bat. I think that’€™s what makes him so good. Plus, he’€™s not just a slap hitter,” said Buck. “He’€™s gap to gap and will hit a home run every once in a while. He’€™s not just singles hitter.”

All of those attributes would make DeJesus an intriguing addition to any contender. And, after spending his career playing for a team that has been out of contention every summer, Buck believes that his friend would relish the opportunity to step into a pennant race.

“I think he would love to [compete in a pennant race],” said Buck. “Knowing his personality, I think he would be excited to play for something meaningful.”

DeJesus is currently making $4.7 million in the final season of a five-year, $13.8 million deal that includes a $6 million option and $500,000 buyout for the 2011 season. He is both good and affordable, at least in dollars. Whether a contender also finds him worth the cost in players sought by the Royals (described as significant by baseball sources) remains to be seen, but the interest in such a player will no doubt be extensive.

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