Levine: Cubs Missing Veteran Leadership, DeJesus Says
By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) David DeJesus loved his time with the Cubs in 2012 and 2013. The outfielder, now with the Tampa Bay Rays, has nothing but great feelings about his experience at Clark and Addison.
“Not too many people have the opportunity to be a Cub,” DeJesus said. “When you are a Cub, you are loved by people all over the U.S because of the afternoon games and the years they have been on WGN television. They become a part of peoples’ lives all over the world.”
Dejesus appreciated his time with the young teammates he played with. He also sees the reality of president Theo Epsein’s task to win without economic resources to support the player development plan.
“They are in a tough situation right now,” DeJesus said. “If the money isn’t there, you can’t really do what your plan was set out for. You think if I had this money I could do this or that. They don’t have it and they are caught in the middle of their plan.”
DeJesus feels that he might be on his former team now if Epstein had the money to build his club properly. DeJesus said that keeping veteran players to help the young guys develop was what the Cub front office intended from the beginning.
“Guys who were leaders on the team, like (Alfonso) Soriano and myself, if you take that away, then the (Anthony) Rizzo and (Starlin) Castro group have to grow up quickly,” he said. “Sometimes they can handle that; sometimes they can’t.”
Leadership comes from managers and coaches as well as players who have been through the wars.
“I was the guy for Rizzo, and Sori was there for some of the other young Latin players,” he said. “I had Mike Sweeney in Kansas City. He taught me and many others how to deal with management and the media. He would talk to the media right after games, good or bad, and help clear the pressure and clubhouse. That stuff is learned along the way. Rizzo and Castro have to deal with this at 24, where I was the guy at 28 or 29. There is a big difference.”
One final piece of knowledge from the popular former Cub: “Both Rizzo and Castro got paid early. It is both a blessing and a curse. They will expect you do a lot.”
DeJesus expects to play three or four more seasons. After that, he is open to working for a team or pursuing a media career.
“I love the game and the people in it,” he said. “I live in Chicago. If I ever had a chance to work here again, that would be great.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.