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David DeJesus Rumors
Homer Bailey‘s extension with the Reds could have a ripple effect within the NL Central, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Bailey’s six-year, $105MM deal greatly exceeded a five-year extension offer the Cubs made to Jeff Samardzija. It has been widely speculated that Samardzija will be traded or leave in free agency rather than remain a Cub, though Bailey himself isn’t so sure. “I think the Cubs will spend money where they feel like it’s needed,” Bailey said. “And maybe it will be Samardzija. We don’t know that. The Cubs might be playing a bluff card. That’s part of going into a negotiation, too. There’s so many strategies.”
Here’s the latest from around the division…
- If the Pirates are really keeping Gregory Polanco at Triple-A to keep him from reaching Super Two status, it’s a lose-lose situation for all parties, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Ownership could save money on Polanco’s future arbitration years, but Sawchik makes the point that those savings could cost the Bucs a playoff berth (and playoff revenue) this year since the Pirates need Polanco’s bat.
- Polanco’s Triple-A dominance could be hurting him in some respects, MLB.com’s Tom Singer opines, as the Pirates might be waiting to see how Polanco deals with adversity before calling him up to the Major League level.
- Polanco’s situation is detailed by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, and one scout had high praise for the young outfielder. Polanco was called “as close to the perfect player as you can get” and the scout described him as “Dave Parker with more speed, and Darryl Strawberry without the off-field baggage.”
- Unlike former teammate Matt Garza, David DeJesus didn’t necessarily feel relieved to be traded from the Cubs last summer, the outfielder tells CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney. DeJesus still has a house in the Chicago suburbs and enjoyed his time in Wrigleyville, but the Cubs’ continual moving of veterans could harm the club’s youth movement. “Young guys have to follow leadership. I followed Mike Sweeney,” DeJesus said. “You learn how to be a professional at that time. When they keep losing those guys, it’s going to be tougher. They’re going to have to grow up real quickly.”
WEDNESDAY: Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune provides the breakdown of the new contract (on Twitter). DeJesus will be paid $4.25MM in 2014 and $5MM in 2015. The club option is valued at $5MM with a $1MM buyout. Topkin also tweets that DeJesus received a $250K signing bonus.
TUESDAY, 7:18pm: DeJesus' deal is worth $10.5MM over the first two seasons, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Of course, the Rays also hold an option on the ACES client's third year.
MONDAY, 8:40am: The Rays and David DeJesus have agreed to a new two-year contract that will cover the 2014-15 seasons and include a club option for 2016, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
DeJesus, 34 in December, took an interesting path to the Rays. Originally signed to a two-year, $10MM contract with the Cubs, he was claimed off waivers in August by the Nationals this summer. However, GM Mike Rizzo instantly put DeJesus back on waivers, and the Rays claimed him two days later. The Nationals ultimately acquired lefty Matthew Spann from the Rays in exchange for DeJesus, which appears to have been Rizzo's plan all along (to acquire a prospect — not Spann specifically).
DeJesus batted .260/.328/.413 in 35 games (117 plate appearances) with the Rays, adding three more hits in the playoffs as the Rays advanced to the ALDS — the first postseason experience of DeJesus' career. Overall on the season, DeJesus slashed .251/.327/.402 and played solid defense in all three outfield positions, per UZR (DRS didn't like his work in center, pegging him at -6 runs).
Rays manager Joe Maddon is no stranger to using platoons to his advantage, and he'll have to do that to maximize DeJesus' value. Though he could once handle his own against left-handed pitching, DeJesus is batting a ghastly .162/.248/.207 against southpaws dating back to 2011, signaling that he's a clear platoon bat at this stage of his career. The flipside of that is that he's done very well against right-handed pitchers, slashing .274/.356/.441 in 1,068 plate appearances.
Extending DeJesus calls into question Matt Joyce's future with the Rays, in my mind. The two are very similar players in the sense that each hits right-handed pitching well but must be platooned against left-handers. Joyce appears to be a trade candidate or non-tender candidate now (he's projected to earn $3.7MM). Perhaps Rays GM Andrew Friedman decided that if he's going to carry a platoon outfielder, he wants him to be a strong defender. Joyce's defensive metrics have slipped in right field in recent seasons, and he doesn't come with DeJesus' versatility, as he's played just 32 innings in center field in his Major League career.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Rays have exercised the club's $6.5MM option on outfielder David DeJesus, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. (With a $1.5MM buyout, this was effectively a $5MM decision.) Meanwhile, the sides are also discussing a multi-year extension, Topkin further tweets.
This news rates as at least a mild surprise, largely due to Tampa's historically lean payroll, which has landed just over $60MM at opening day the last two years. Looking ahead, the Rays owe $23.6MM to five players in 2014, and could spend right around $30MM on arbitration-eligible players. MLBTR's Mark Polishuk was among those who expected the option to be too pricey for GM Andrew Friedman to exercise it. Of course, if ace David Price finds a new home, his projected $13.1MM salary would open a lot of room.
DeJesus, who turns 34 in December, has been a solid-if-unspectacular contributor for some time now. He was exactly league average at the plate in terms of OPS last year, and he's never posted an OPS+ of under 91 or over 118 in a full season of action. (He played in just 91 games in 2010, when he managed a 127 OPS+ for the Royals.) Of course, the lefty has historically struggled against southpaws, with a .252/.321/.342 slash line that is dwarfed by his .289/.365/.447 line against righties. Even worse, that split has significantly worsened over the course of his career. Formerly just slightly below average against lefties, DeJesus has put up three straight wRC+ marks of 32 or lower when facing same-armed hurlers. DeJesus has divided his time about evenly between center field and the corner outfield, and is generally viewed as acceptable at the former and good at the latter.
The $6.5MM that DeJesus will earn next year becomes the largest annual payroll he's pulled down. He joined Tampa through the August non-revocable waiver trade market, after spending much of the season with the Cubs and then getting three at-bats with the Nationals on his way south.
The Nationals acquired DeJesus from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later but quickly flipped him to the Rays just a few days later. GM Mike Rizzo later explained that he saw claiming DeJesus as an opportunity to flip him for a prospect that the team could control for years: "It’s acquiring assets. That’s really the reason you utilize your positioning on the waiver wire," said Rizzo shortly after trading DeJesus.
It's unclear what the Nats ultimately gave up to acquire DeJesus in the first place, but the trade will net them Spann, the Rays' 25th-round selection from the 2010 draft. The 22-year-old southpaw spent the season with Class-A Bowling Green, pitching to a 2.87 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings — most of which came in relief. Spann was fairly hittable, as opponents batted .284/.349/.453 against him.
DeJesus has been solid for the Rays, geting on base at a solid clip, but his overall .258/.343/.339 slash line is a bit underwhelming. Curiously, the Nationals now have Matthew Spann and Denard Span to go along with Jordan Zimmermann and Ryan Zimmerman.
Here's the latest from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says he did not make a mistake in claiming David DeJesus, as some speculated at the time. "I wasn’t concerned about being stuck with David, as I like him a lot," says Rizzo. "The player from Tampa Bay is not nearly a sexy prospect, but we had solid reports on him and he will be, at worst, added depth. I would have liked (DeJesus) to go unclaimed — I think I could have made a better deal with several interested teams." After claiming DeJesus, the Nationals quickly sent him to the Rays for a player to be named.
- One reason the Nationals might not be in any hurry to trade Dan Haren, Rosenthal suggests, is that they're still nominally in the playoff hunt. The Nats are currently eight games back of the last playoff spot, but they have a weak schedule down the stretch. Besides, Rosenthal notes, there hasn't been much interest in Haren in the first place.
- Nelson Cruz has been working out at the Rangers' facility in the Dominican Republic. Cruz isn't forbidden to do that, even though he's currently serving a suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal. The Rangers want to have the option of turning to Cruz in the postseason.
- The Tigers, meanwhile, have "not even discussed" using Jhonny Peralta in the playoffs, according to Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski.
Here's Tuesday's list of players who have been placed on revocable trade waivers…
- Ervin Santana — Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that Ervin Santana has been placed on waivers. He instantly becomes one of the most desirable pieces on waivers, but the Royals are likely not inclined to move him. Santana, 30, has a 3.21 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in what has been a tremendous rebound campaign with the Royals. He's owed about $2.23MM this season and is a free agent at season's end. However, Kansas City is still within striking distance of a Wild Card spot and will be making Santana a qualifying offer following the season, so a return would likely have to overwhelm them.
- Francisco Rodriguez — Rosenthal's tweet also reported that K-Rod has been placed on waivers by the Orioles. This is likely nothing more than a procedural move, as he's been solid for the O's, and they're just 2.5 games back from a Wild Card spot.
- Wesley Wright, David DeJesus — Rosenthal also noted that the Rays have put both of their most recent waiver pickups back on waivers. However, in a second tweet he cautions that DeJesus needn't be worried this time, as the Rays are merely putting all of their players through waivers as a procedural move right now, which explains Wright's placement as well.
- Josh Willingham — Peter Gammons of the MLB Network tweets that the Twins have placed Willingham on waivers. Minnesota was expecting big things out of Willingham following a 35-homer season in 2012, but knee injuries diminished his production at the plate and he ultimately underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in early July. Since being activated on Aug. 9, he's batting just .177/.316/.371 with a pair of homers and six doubles. Willingham's walk rate (13.4 percent) and power (.179 ISO) remain strong, but his strikeout rate is up (26.7 percent) and his average is down due to a decrease in line drives and an increase in pop-ups. He's owed roughly $1.3MM for the remainder of the season and is owed $7MM in 2014 — the final season of a three-year, $21MM contract.
- Earlier today, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that Marlon Byrd, Pedro Feliciano and John Buck of the Mets were all on waivers, and at least one trade is likely. Byrd was claimed by an unknown NL team shortly thereafter.
For a reminder on how revocable trade waivers and August trades work, check out MLBTR's August trades primer. You can see who is available to be traded to any team by checking MLBTR's list of players who have cleared waivers.
Here's a look at the AL East as the Rays and Red Sox jostle for control of the division..
- Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette told reporters, including CSNBaltimore's Rich Dubroff, "We’ve pursued some hitters, but we haven’t been able to find the right fit." Duquette added he's looking at options to improve the bullpen, but those may come from Triple-A.
- The Rays were able to acquire outfielder David DeJesus and his approximately $2.4MM salary committment because they are "under budget," a Major League source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
- Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman made moves this summer with depth in mind, writes Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. “We talked about it in July, our biggest focus was on augmenting our depth,” Friedman said before Friday’s win. “Essentially right now we have a 37-game season and we’re doing everything we can to put together the most talented team we can going down the stretch. The fact that we play 37 games in 38 days also factored in, something where us having as much depth as we could was important. In our minds this is arguably the deepest roster we’ve had.” The Rays added reliever Jesse Crain in late July, signed designated hitter Delmon Young to a minor league deal on Thursday, and traded for outfielder David DeJesus on Friday.
- The Yankees' acquisition of Alfonso Soriano represents the sixth time in 19 years the club landed an established slugger during the season who had at least the following season left on his contract. Joel Sherman of the New York Post runs down the previous five occurences and ranks them by success. He concludes that those acquisitions - Ruben Sierra, Cecil Fielder, David Justice, Raul Mondesi, and Bobby Abreu - helped the Yanks in the season they were acquired but most of them were problematic beyond that.
- A year after shocking the baseball world, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has no regrets about his megatrade with L.A., writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Adam Kilgore has plenty on the Nationals' recent trades of David DeJesus and Kurt Suzuki in an article for The Washington Post. According to Kilgore, GM Mike Rizzo anticipated from the beginning that he would be able to acquire a prospect for DeJesus after putting in a claim on the outfielder. “Whenever you can net a good, young 22-year-old controllable guy, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Rizzo said, referring to one of two pitching prospects that the Nats will receive from the Rays in exchange for DeJesus. "It’s acquiring assets. That’s really the reason you utilize your positioning on the waiver wire." Earlier this evening, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard from a few executives who wondered aloud if the claim might have been a mistake by the Nats. Here's some more Saturday night NL East links…
- The Nats “most definitely” plan to try to sign DeJesus this offseason if the Rays decline his $6MM option for 2014, Rizzo says. The GM essentially told DeJesus so when they spoke Friday morning, according to Kilgore.
- Trading Suzuki to the A's is a suggestion of the confidence the Nats have in catcher Wilson Ramos moving forward, Kilgore says. “[Ramos] wants to be that guy who plays each and every game," Rizzo said. "We thought it was a good opportunity for us to forego four weeks or so of Suzuki and get ourselves a prospect out of it.” MLBTR's Jeff Todd profiled Ramos as an extension candidate earlier this evening.
- Rizzo will require a significant package of talent in any trade for Dan Haren, who has a 2.16 ERA in 50 innings since returning from the DL and will become a free agent after the season. Haren is owed approximately $2.63MM for the remainder of the season.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces the unenviable task of rebuilding the Phillies' bullpen this offseason, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer says, calling the club's relief corps one of baseball's worst. Gelb suggests that a "total re-evaluation of the team's scouting methods and developmental strategy" may be necessary, but says he expects Amaro to again pursue veteran relievers in free agency after the season's end. Pitching coach Rich Dubee, whose contract expires at the end of the season, isn't likely to remain with the club in 2014, Gelb adds.
- Amaro may look to bolster the Phillies' statistics department, according to an article by Tyler Kepner of The New York Times. “We may be looking to fortify some of our information with some more statistical analysis," Amaro said. "I’m not so stubborn that we can’t try to do things a little bit different, or think that we can’t make better decisions." However, scouting and player development will remain the Phils' focus, Amaro added.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports released his latest Full Count video today. Let's take a look:
- Discussing the Phillies' ongoing negotiations with Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Rosenthal notes that that delays of this kind typically develop after a team finds a problem with a player's physical. If there is cause for concern, the Phillies could incorporate protective language into the contract or sign Gonzalez to a smaller deal than the six-year, $48MM pact that was reported last month.
- Recent Red Sox acquisition Jake Peavy told Rosenthal that he was prepared to move money around in his contract to facilitate a trade from the White Sox to the Cardinals, or any other team that asked him to do so. However, the Cardinals never made an offer for Peavy.
- Rival executives suggest to Rosenthal that the Nationals' waiver claim of David DeJesus may have been a mistake. The quality of prospect that the Nats obtain from the Rays for DeJesus could hint at the impetus behind the deal, Rosenthal says.
- The Braves were the team that claimed Kyle Lohse after the Brewers placed him on waivers earlier this month, and hoped to use him as a replacement for the injured Tim Hudson. However, the Brewers opted not to try to work out a deal. They may attempt to move him in the offseason, however, as the two years and $22MM remaining on his deal could be attractive in the weak free agent market.
Last August's blockbuster Adrian Gonzalez / Carl Crawford / Josh Beckett deal between the Dodgers and Red Sox is a winner for both teams, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes. Despite Gonzalez, Crawford and Nick Punto all playing fairly well and the Dodgers having a very successful season so far, however, there is still a case to be made that the Dodgers would have been better off to hold onto James Loney and their prospects and spend their money elsewhere — Rosenthal notes that the deal may have helped the Red Sox, themselves in the midst of a strong season, to pursue veterans like Shane Victorino and Jake Peavy. In any case, Rosenthal's article is a fascinating look behind a major deal. He chronicles how conversations involving the two teams' presidents and even Red Sox owner John Henry helped shape the trade. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Nationals recently traded outfielder David DeJesus to the Rays, but the Nats could try to acquire DeJesus again in the offseason if the Rays don't pick up his 2014 option, MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes (via Twitter). DeJesus is owed $6.5MM in 2014, with a $1.5MM buyout.
- The Nats are open to trading Dan Haren, but GM Mike Rizzo says they would want "a good package of players" in return, Ladson reports. It seems unlikely that any team would meet that price, since Haren has already cleared waivers. In 132 innings this season, Haren has a 4.64 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9. He has about $3MM remaining on his contract before he becomes a free agent at the end of the year.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon says the depth DeJesus has added to the team makes his job "more difficult — in a good way," Sam Strong and Bryan Hoch of MLB.com report. "We have to be creative in resting people," says Maddon. "I don't want anyone too tired. We've taken advantage of these off-days to keep everyone spiffy to this point, but we have to be careful moving forward. New players help that. It takes more than nine people to win a World Series." DeJesus started in left field for the Rays as they took on the Yankees on Friday, while rookie Wil Myers did not play.
- Former Orioles great Cal Ripken is more interested in a big-league managerial job than he has been in the past, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. His interest could extend to the Nationals job, which will be open once Davey Johnson retires at the end of the season. "I’ve been asked to interview for many managing jobs, and I never said yes because I was never serious about it, and I thought it would be wrong to go through that process," says Ripken. "I haven’t been asked by [the Nationals]. … I think I would be more curious at this stage in my life than I have been."