Versatile outfielder David DeJesus has been traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later. CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler and Jon Heyman were first to report the deal.
DeJesus has enjoyed a solid season at the plate. He’s batting .250/.330/.401 in 318 PA with 28 extra base hits and 29 walks, while striking out just 55 times. He’s not the sharpest defender in center field, but he can handle all three outfield positions comfortably. The team also now holds an option on DeJesus for the 2014 season. If they choose to exercise it they’ll owe him $6.5 Million. If they decline they’ll have to pay a $1.5 Million buyout. He’s been a positive veteran presence in the Chicago clubhouse, suggesting that chances are high that the team will exercise the option, barring something unexpected happening between now and the end of the season.
More importantly, DeJesus gives the Nationals a better option in their outfield over the remainder of the season with the release of Roger Bernadina to make space on the active roster. Bernadina has always shown glimpses of promise but he’s never been able to deliver consistently with the Nationals. His release was ultimately a matter of time. He’s hit just .178/.247/.270 in 167 PA on the year, a big dropoff from the .291/.372/.405 line he posted just a season ago. He was earning just $1.21 Million on the year, but was facing a raise in arbitration despite the poor offensive numbers and the chances were high that he might have been a non-tender candidate this coming winter. Washington does have other options on their 40-man roster who could potentially fill Bernadina’s role next season at a significantly reduced rate (Corey Brown and Eury Perez both come to mind).
The deal actually is the second between the two organizations this year that has centered on an outfielder. Washington acquired Scott Hairston from the Cubs on July 8th (along with a PTBNL and cash) in return for Ivan Peneyro and a PTBNL.
Hairston has appeared in 18 games for Washington since, hitting .212/.257/.303 in 35 PA without demonstrating much power. He’d hit 8 HR with the Cubs to start the year, but otherwise hit just .172/.232/.434 in 112 PA before the trade. Hairston’s spent time in both outfield corners, but hasn’t played center field all year. Hairston is under contract for next season, for $2.5 Million, but his overall lack of production may have been a contributing factor in the team’s decision to add yet another outfielder to the roster who can provide more depth across all three positions. It will be curious to see if the organization opts to hold onto both former Cubs heading through the offseason.
Washington will have some internal discussions regarding the future of their outfield this winter. Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span are all under contract for at least the next two seasons. It’s conceivable that the team could give playing time to any combination of DeJesus, Hairston, Brown, Perez, Tyler Moore, Jeff Kobernus, or even Stephen Lombardozzi. None of this includes the remote possibility that Brian Goodwin blows the team away next year in Spring Training, but he’s likely at least another year away from being MLB ready. The team already parted ways with Bernadina and one has to wonder who else from this group might find their way off the roster sometime this winter.