White Sox announce Jon Jay deal, DFA Charlie Tilson
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The White Sox announced their one-year deal Thursday with free-agent outfielder Jon Jay. The former Cub will receive $4 million in 2019.
To make room for Jay on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated outfielder Charlie Tilson for assignment.
The Jay signing was first reported Monday night.
“Jon is a veteran major-leaguer who can help a team win in any number of ways,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “From getting on base consistently, to being a solid hitter, smart baserunner and solid defender at all three outfield spots, Jon makes any team better.”
Jay is a career .285 hitter with a .352 on-base percentage over nine major-league seasons with St. Louis (2010-15), San Diego (2016), the Cubs (2017), Kansas City (2018) and Arizona (2018). He has batted .275 or better in seven of his nine seasons in the majors. He owns a .996 career fielding percentage in the outfield, the highest among all active players, and has played in 67 career postseason games, including 13 in the World Series.
“It’s a great organization a great city and good place for me and my family,” Jay said. “Just an opportunity to come in there and compete for a job which is something I was looking for. Obviously there’s a lot of potential on this team. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens the rest of the offseason and all that, but I am excited this opportunity.”
Jay joins relief pitchers Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome, starting pitcher Ivan Nova, first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher James McCann on the list of Sox offseason acquisitions.
Jay can play all three outfield positions and will be one of the Sox’ best fielders at any of the three spots.
The Sox continue in their pursuit of infielder Manny Machado, who is a friend of Jay, as well as Bryce Harper.
“Manny is going to do what is best for him and his family,” Jay said. “We obviously have a great friendship. I haven’t been involved in any of that (decision). Let’s see how that shakes out. We’d obviously like to have him. Who knows what is going to happen.”
Talking on a conference call, Jay answered questions about his relationship with Machado. The Sox also signed Machado’s brother in law, Yonder Alonso, forming something of a drawing card for the free agent star. Hahn insisted the move was designed to improve the club and nothing more and Jay was less willing to discuss Machado than Alonso was when he was acquired by the Sox.
“He’s an unbelievable worker,” Jay said of Machado. “Like I said he’s a good friend of mine and I’ll leave it at that. I am here to talk about myself signing with the Chicago White Sox, I’m not here to talk about Manny’s matters.”
Tilson, a New Trier graduate, was a Cardinals well-regarded prospect when the Sox acquired him in a trade for left-hander Zach Duke during the 2016 season. He tore his hamstring in his only appearance that year while attempting to run down a fly ball in center field, and then missed the 2017 season with a foot injury. He appeared in 41 games for the Sox in 2018, batting .264/.331/.292.