Jay’s tenure in San Diego started off really well, as the veteran provided good defense in centerfield to compliment the best leadoff bat we’ve seen in a while. He was leading the league in doubles when a pitch fractured his forearm in June, which essentially ended his season. While on the DL, he remained a vocal part of the Padres’ team leadership, leading to talks of bringing him back for another year or two.
Offseason speculation swirled around Jay’s potential role in the 2017 outfield. If he had been re-signed, he would have brought a stabilizing veteran presence but that presence would likely have displaced youngsters Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski. In such a scenario, Margot would have spent considerable time in AAA or Jankowski may have been seen as a tradeable asset. With Jay now out of the picture, it seems much more likely that both Margot and Jankowski will be regulars in the outfield at Petco Park in 2017.
With incumbent centerfielder Dexter Fowler now a highly touted free agent, Jay has a good chance at the starting job in Chicago and will likely compete with the light-hitting yet speedy Albert Almora Jr for the job.
Best wishes, Mr, Jay, it was a pleasure having you aboard.