The Cubs are seeking consistency moving forward, and are confident in their offseason moves punctuated by signing Jon Lester at the Winter Meetings. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and free agent catcher John Baker, Chicago signed veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia to a one-year deal pending a physical on Wednesday afternoon. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman notes the deal is worth close to $2.5 million.
Denorfia, 34, has spent most of his major league time as a member of the San Diego Padres. He was dealt to Seattle before last season's non-waiver trading deadline, and posted a .230/.284/.318 batting line to complement three home runs and 21 RBIs between the two clubs. He appeared in 121 games in 2014, and has proven to be durable, playing in at least 110 contests over the last four seasons.
Although he was offensively inconsistent last season, Denorfia thrived playing at Petco Park. He is a career .272/.331/.394 hitter who has developed a reputation for hitting left-handed pitching well (career .292 against lefties) and is an experienced addition to Chicago's clubhouse. Despite the fact that his production decreased a season ago, the Cubs are confident Denorfia can return to his 2012/2013 form, when he hit .293 and .279 respectively.
While he has experience playing all three outfield positions, Denorfia is best suited playing one of the corner spots. He can play center field if necessary, but is expected to see time in left field as a right-handed platoon partner to Chris Coghlan, who will be in the lineup against right-handed pitchers.
The Cubs have a notable number of infield prospects, and may be looking to move one to left field beyond 2015. Chicago could have a new left fielder in 2016, with prospects Kris Bryant and Addison Russell among the infielders who could change positions. Denorfia is seen as a short term solution, and is expected to thrive in a hitter-friendly ballpark.