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Royals sign lefty-swinging outfielder Jay

March 6, 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals' outfield competition could be at an end.The Royals on Tuesday signed left-handed-hitting outfielder Jonathan Jay to a one-year deal -- $3 million base, per source, with $1.5 million available in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals' outfield competition could be at an end.
The Royals on Tuesday signed left-handed-hitting outfielder Jonathan Jay to a one-year deal -- $3 million base, per source, with $1.5 million available in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals placed right-hander Jesse Hahn on the 60-day disabled list with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Jay, 32, would "play a lot." Jay, a career. 288 hitter, likely will join an outfield mix that includes Jorge Soler, Alex Gordon, Jorge Bonifacio and Paulo Orlando -- Orlando, though, still has Minor League options and could start the season at Triple-A.
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Yost said Jay also could see some time at DH, along with Soler.
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But if the Royals carry five outfielders, it would appear to be difficult for non-roster invitees Michael Saunders and Tyler Collins to find a spot on the 25-man Opening Day roster, unless Orlando is optioned.
"[Jay brings] veteran leadership, a very consistent, solid bat," Yost said. "Good defense in the outfield. He'll fit in. Plays all three outfield positions, DH, whatever.
"Always been a productive bat. [He's an] 80 makeup guy, which is the highest on the scale. A really good teammate. Really productive.
"Without knowing him, the more homework I do on him, the more I like him. The more people I talk to, the more it's like, 'Wow, this guy brings a lot to the table.'"
Jay hit .296 last year for the Cubs, with 18 doubles and a .374 on-base percentage. After a long and unnerving offseason, he was happy to have found a home with the Royals.
"Obviously, this is a team with a lot of tradition," Jay said. "I'm familiar with the Midwest, having played in St. Louis and Chicago.
"There are a lot of pieces here ... but it was just a chance for me to play."
Jay bristled a bit at the suggestion he had a better chance to find an opening with the rebuilding Royals.
"I didn't think about it that way," Jay said. "I don't like to use that word [rebuilding]. We have guys who can compete."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.