Vine Line Cubscast: David DeJesus

David DeJesus has never been the flashiest player, but what he brings to a team goes far beyond numbers on a stat sheet. As Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s first major acquisition, DeJesus was brought to the Cubs for his work ethic, exceptional defense, strong on-base percentage and leadership in the clubhouse. And the versatile right fielder, who has a .288/.379/.412 triple-slash line, is off to a great start in Chicago. For the June issue of Vine Line, we sat down with DeJesus to talk about leadership, playing the game the right way and his connection to Chicago.

“We plan to be here as long as possible. This is going to be our home base,” DeJesus said. “It makes it better when you’re playing for your hometown team, and you can go 45 minutes to home at the end of the season or at the end of the day. And I love being a Cub.”

To read the full profile of DeJesus, pick up the June edition of Vine Line. Or subscribe today at cubs.com/vineline. The following is a short excerpt from the June cover story by Gregory Trotter.

David DeJesus charged hard around the bases.

Rounding second, he nimbly hopped over a grounder that skittered into the outfield, and then broke into a toothy grin. Covered in sweat, he returned to the dugout to retrieve his glove—for fielding practice. The late-April night game against the St. Louis Cardinals was still two and a half hours away.

This batting practice display offered a glimpse of the intangibles—the intensity, the passion, the childlike joy—that likely convinced Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein to make DeJesus his first and most prominent offseason roster addition. It was by no means a splashy signing. But, as an elite defensive outfielder with a solid bat, DeJesus was a bodily manifestation of “playing the game the right way,” a phrase often used to describe the new Cubs Way.

“He’s a perfect example of where this organization is headed,” said teammate Reed Johnson, who speaks gushingly about DeJesus’ play in right field and his work ethic.

For DeJesus, signing with the Cubs was nothing less than an alignment of the stars. The 32-year-old right fielder was looking for a bounce-back season after suffering a frustrating down year in 2011 with the Oakland A’s, and Epstein’s faith reaffirmed what he always believed about himself as a player. It also provided him the luxury of being able to drive home after games to his new residence in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, where he lives with his wife, Kim, and their 2-year-old son, Kingston.

“It’s an honor,” DeJesus said of Epstein’s pursuit of him. “With the track record he has of bringing in quality baseball players … it’s definitely something I’m proud of. I’m happy he thinks of me like that.”

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