The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder David DeJesus yesterday afternoon (full story from Cubbies Crib here) from the Chicago Cubs, just as the two teams were beginning a four game series at Wrigley Field. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Washington “almost immediately” put the outfielder on waivers.
Major League Baseball executives have speculated that Washington is trying to rid themselves of the roughly $2.5 million left on DeJesus’ current contract, which is made up of $975K in terms of base salary and a $1.5MM buyout of his 2014 option. The motivation behind this move by the Nationals’ front office is unclear; the club could simply be looking to flip DeJesus, or may have simply been surprised that Chicago accepted the waiver claim initially.
With the Nationals now 16.0 GB of the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves following last night’s 11-1 loss to the Cubs (full recap here), Washington has less than a two percent chance of making the postseason. With this in mind, Washington Times reporter Amanda Comak opined that the Nationals made the claim to prevent DeJesus from joining another contender, possibly a team in the NL East.
DeJesus pinch hit for Washington last night against the Cubs in the top of the eighth inning at Wrigley Field, popping out softly to shortstop. He his hitting .250 this season with six home runs and 27 RBIs.
When asked about the move, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post that DeJesus added depth on the club’s bench.
“(DeJesus) improves our left-handed side of the bench immediately,” Rizzo said. “He’s also a guy that is capable of being an everyday player. He can step in there for extended periods of time if there are injuries. He helps us in a variety of ways.
“He’s really wearing out right-handed pitching right now. He’s a high on-base percentage guy in his career. A consummate professional hitter.”
Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer hinted that that club would be interested in bringing DeJesus back in the offseason should the Nationals choose to not pick up his option for 2014.