After being acquired by the Padres in December in the Jedd Gyorko trade, Jon Jay opened the 2016 season as the team's starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. Injuries limited his playing time for the second straight season, as he suffered a broken forearm after getting hit by a pitch in mid-June. Upon returning in September, the San Diego outfield was more crowded, which limited his playing time down the stretch. After signing a one-year deal with the Cubs this offseason, he projects to hit in the eight hole despite handling himself well as a table-setter with the Padres (.339 OBP). Given his career splits (108 wRC+ against RHP, 100 wRC+ against LHP), he should occupy the strong side of a center field platoon with Albert Almora. Jay hasn't flashed a modicum of pop or the ability to contribute more than a small handful of steals in recent years, so in order to be useful, he will need to get on base at a steady clip and rack up runs in a potent Cubs lineup.
Jay signed a one-year contract with the Cubs on Tuesday. Jay dealt with a broken forearm for much of 2016, which resulted in him playing in less than 100 games for the second consecutive season. However, Jay was solid at the plate when healthy. By the end of the year, he'd built a .291/.339/.389 line, but struck out at a career-high clip of 20.9 percent. Now that he's a member of the Cubs, Jay will only add to one of the league's deepest outfields, as he's expected to share time in center field with Albert Almora.
Jay is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Diamondbacks. Jay tallied two hits in three of the last four games he started, but with the regular season winding down, manager Andy Green will hold him out Friday for the third time in five games. Travis Jankowski will get the start in center field in Jay's place.
Jay is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Dodgers. Top prospect Manuel Margot will start in center field and lead off Wednesday -- a preview of what Padres fans and Margot's fantasy owners should become accustomed to heading into 2017. Jay has still been playing almost every day of late, but could sit a couple more times before season's end as San Diego continues to work in its youngsters.
Jay is not in the lineup for Tuesday's matchup with the Red Sox. Despite being activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, the Padres elected to stick with Travis Jankowski in center field instead of slotting Jay right back into the lineup. It's unclear how the Padres plan to handle the outfield playing time situation for the rest of the month, but it would be tough to leave Jay's .752 OPS on the bench, even if Jankowski filled in well in his absence.
The Padres activated Jay (forearm) from the disabled list Tuesday, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Jay just began a rehab assignment Saturday, and it did not take him long to rejoin the active roster for the first time since late June. Jay owns a respectable .752 OPS on the season and played center field nearly every day when he was healthy, but Travis Jankowski staked his claim to both the center field and leadoff jobs in his absence, so it remains to be seen what type of role Jay will fill the rest of the way.