David DeJesus signs with Chicago Cubs

Scratch one outfield option off the A’s list for 2012. … David DeJesus signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs that guarantees him $10 million, with a club option for 2014.

It’s no secret that DeJesus’ first (and only) season with Oakland was a disappointment — he hit .240 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs, and his struggles contributed greatly to a poor offensive first half that buried the A’s in the AL West. The team offered him arbitration last week, and being that DeJesus is a Type B free agent and declined arbitration, the A’s get a sandwich draft pick between the first and second rounds as compensation.

It’s a great deal for DeJesus, who lives in the Chicago area and reportedly will be the Cubs’ starting right fielder. There seemed little chance he would return to Oakland even after being offered arbitration. But now that he’s officially gone, it sheds more light on the A’s uncertain outfield situation. Left fielder Josh Willingham appears all but gone to free agency, and though Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has reported the A’s are interested in retaining free agent center fielder Coco Crisp, they clearly have holes to fill. The A’s could lean on a combination of Ryan Sweeney, Michael Taylor, Jai Miller, Jermaine Mitchell and recently acquired Cedric Hunter for their outfield. But all are unknown quantities other than Sweeney, and how comfortable would you feel plugging in any combination of those players and counting on them to produce?

The outfield is definitely an area to watch as this offseason unfolds. I’d be surprised if the A’s don’t make more moves to address that area one way or another …

Joe Stiglich