An August trade between two sub-.500, non-contending teams that involves a legitimate Major League talent is something of a rarity, yet that's what the Nationals and Cubs accomplished this afternoon when David DeJesus was sent to Washington for a player to be named later. Here are some of the follow-up notes about the swap and some reaction...
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke to reporters this afternoon (including Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago) and said that salary was the main factor in the trade. The trade will save the Cubs roughly $2.5MM -- the approximately $975K left on DeJesus' 2013 salary and the $1.5MM buyout on his club option for 2014 (the option costs $6.5MM if exercised).
- Hoyer also noted that the Cubs would be interested in re-signing DeJesus if the Nats don't pick up the outfielder's option. As CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney notes (via Twitter), there appears to be mutual interest from both sides in a DeJesus return to Wrigley Field.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo also spoke to the media, telling reporters (including CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman) that DeJesus was acquired to improve the Nats' left-handed bench depth and that the move was made with the 2013 season still in mind. "We're going to take this thing one game at a time," Rizzo said. "But I certainly haven't given up on this season, and I think that with the talent level that we have on this ballclub that we still have a run left in us." The Nationals entered today's action 15.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 9.5 games behind the Reds for the last NL wild card spot. According to Baseball Prospectus' playoff odds calculations, Washington has just a 1.2% chance of reaching the postseason.
- Also from Zuckerman's piece, the Nats were interested in DeJesus before the July 31 trade deadline but couldn't work out a deal in time. This trade was worked out after the Cubs put DeJesus on waivers and the Nationals claimed him.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale (via Twitter) thinks DeJesus' $6.5MM option is too expensive for the Nats to pick up this winter. I don't agree with Nightengale -- despite what Rizzo says, the Nats have to be looking ahead to 2014. There would be no point in picking DeJesus up now just to let him walk in the offseason, unless Rizzo plans to flip DeJesus to a contender before the August 31 waiver trade deadline.
- The lack of bench production has been one of the underrated reasons for the Nationals' disappointing performance this season, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times writes, and DeJesus' acquisition is a step towards fixing that problem.
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson hinted to reporters (including MASNsports' Dan Kolko) that DeJesus might not receive much playing time over the rest of the season. The Nats already have Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Denard Span playing every day in the outfield and Johnson seems more keen to give any spare at-bats to younger players like Tyler Moore.