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Dubois for Gerut: Swapping Mispronunciations
by Derek Smart
After last night's game (more on that later today), the Cubs and Indians made a trade of players each club liked but couldn't make fit, Chicago sending the right-handed, powerful, but defensively challenged Jason Dubois to Cleveland in exchange for the left-handed, more athletic Jody Gerut.
While I've admittedly seen very little of Gerut, my initial impression of the deal is that it's a solid one for both sides. The Indians were in search of some power from the right side, and the Cubs were looking for some defensive and OBP help from someone who could start anywhere in the outfield.
Say what you like about his power potential, but Dubois is brutal in the field, and that likely had as much to do with his being shipped out as anything. Note this quote from Jim Hendry:
"Jason's a guy who has power potential," Hendry said. "All of us felt he might be better suited to the other league."
Translation: with a glove like his, Dubois' future is as a DH. That's a fair assessment, and as much as I like his ability to smoke the ball, the side effect of having to hold my breath every time a fly goes in the air to left is an awfully steep price to pay.
The interesting thing to watch in the short term will be how Gerut is used. He can theoretically play center field, and can certainly play the outfield corners, so when he's in the lineup he'll either be taking time from current lead-off man, Jerry Hairston, or from Todd Hollandsworth. Which of those fellas sees more bench time could give a clue to what else the organization is thinking about doing.
What demands attention long term is what, if anything, happens to Gerut's power. Take a look at this handy, dandy table:
After having very nice power numbers his first year, he's fallen off dramatically, and the key to this trend is the huge increase in the number of ground balls he's hit. If you don't get the ball in the air you don't hit for power, and while I don't know why he's been rapping grounders at such a furious rate, I do know that if he keeps it up he'll continue to struggle with his pop.
There's positive news in his statline, however, and that comes from his walk rates. They've been steadily climbing over time, as have his BB/SO rates, and that's all to the good. If there's one thing this club needs it's someone with some patience, and Gerut seems to be developing that rapidly.
What I'd like to see happen is for Gerut to regain at least some of that pop without losing ground in his walk rate, and if he can start getting the ball in the air again, we just might see it happen. If the boom doesn't come back to his bat, this is a solid deal. If it does, it's a very good one, indeed.