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David DeJesus Rumors
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."
2:51pm: The Nats will choose a PTBNL from a list with fewer than five names, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).
12:11pm: David DeJesus' stay in Washington was brief, to say the least. After acquiring him from the Cubs on Monday, the Nationals and Rays have both announced that DeJesus has been traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
DeJesus was placed on waivers immediately following his acquisition by the Nationals, who many speculated may never have been keen on acquiring him in the first place. Yesterday, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reported that he'd been claimed off waivers by the Rays.
In 322 plate appearances this season, the 33-year-old DeJesus is batting .247/.327/.397. Nearly all of his damage has come against right-handed pitching, as evidenced by his .264/.346/.438 batting line against opposite-handed pitching. Ultimate Zone Rating has graded his center field defense as a positive this season (The Fielding Bible has not), which is a rarity, considering his -0.6 career UZR/150 in center. Both metrics suggest that he's a plus corner defender.
DeJesus is in the final season of a two-year, $10MM contract that he signed with the Cubs prior to the 2012 campaign, though the Rays will hold a $6.5MM club option on him with a $1.5MM buyout. Essentially, they'll make a $5MM decision on DeJesus this offseason. In terms of 2013 salary, he is owed roughly $883K, bringing Tampa Bay's total commitment to him to $2.383MM. From the Nationals' point of view, it's an odd sequence of events, though it'd be worth it if the player they acquire from the Rays is superior (in their opinion) to the player they will ultimately send to the Cubs.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported that the two sides had agreed to a trade to send DeJesus to the Rays (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
FRIDAY: The two sides are nearing resolution on the claim with just minutes remaining until the deadline, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).
THURSDAY, 11:37am: Rogers tweets that the Rays are the team that has claimed DeJesus.
11:22am: The Braves are not the team that claimed DeJesus, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago (Twitter link).
10:58am: An unknown team has claimed David DeJesus on revocable waivers from the Nationals, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal notes that the deadline to work out a deal is tomorrow at 1pm ET, which would indicate that DeJesus was claimed yesterday afternoon (Twitter links). He also points out that the Nationals could, of course, simply let the claiming team have DeJesus and assume the remaining $2.5MM he's owed (between his 2013 salary and his $1.5MM option buyout).
The Nationals acquired DeJesus on Monday and immediately placed him on revocable waivers. It seemed an odd move, though Rosenthal reported at the time that the Nationals may not have been that interested in acquiring DeJesus when they made their claim. This is my own speculation, but the Nats could have acquired DeJesus for a player to be named later simply to move him to a team with worse waiver priority in hopes of receiving a superior player to the PTBNL they sent to Chicago.
In 320 plate appearances this season, DeJesus is batting .248/.328/.399. Nearly all of his damage has come against right-handed pitching, as evidenced by his .266/.347/.440 batting line against opposite-handed pitching. Ultimate Zone Rating has graded his center field defense as a positive this season (The Fielding Bible has not), which is a rarity, considering his -0.6 career UZR/150 in center. Both metrics suggest that he's a plus corner defender.