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David DeJesus Rumors
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.
Here's the latest from both of the Sunshine State's Major League teams…
- The Marlins will "at least show temperate interest" in Jose Dariel Abreu, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. While the Marlins like Abreu, however, Rodriguez says the club "are not smitten" with Abreu as they were with another Cuban outfielder (Yoenis Cespedes) two years ago. Miami offered Cespesdes a six-year, $36MM deal and it has been reported that it could take at least $60MM to get Abreu under contract.
- It seems likely that the Marlins will send Rule 5 draft pick Alfredo Silverio back to the Dodgers, Rodriguez reports. Silverio was taken by Miami in the 2012 Rule 5 draft but the outfielder hasn't played since 2011 after being badly injured in a car accident and undergoing two Tommy John surgeries.
- Delmon Young had offers from a few different teams but returning to the Rays was his first choice, agent Joel Wolfe told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). Young signed a minor league deal with the Rays today. Topkin's piece also includes quotes from Young and Rays executive vice-president Andrew Friedman about the signing.
- Also from Topkin, it seems as if the Rays will end up with David DeJesus, who they claimed off waivers from the Nationals earlier today, though it remains to be seen if the Rays will get him via the claim or if a trade will be worked out with Washington.
Let's take a quick trip around the National League …
- The Nationals acquired David DeJesus from the Cubs yesterday, only to place him promptly on waivers, leading to speculation about the team's intentions. Whatever the Nats do, the Cubs are likely only to receive "a nominal amount of cash" back in the deal, reports ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine (via Twitter).
- Osceola County has decided not to go forward with Washington's planned $98MM spring training complex in Kissimmee, Florida, leaving the club looking for other options. Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com has all the details on the team's prospects for a new spring home. For now, he says, the organization is content to continue working out of Space Coast Stadium in Viera.
- With the Nats visiting Wrigley to take on the Cubs, president and GM Mike Rizzo talked to Levine about the work of the Chicago front office. The Chicago native credited president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer with being "so aggressive in the international market place." He explained that the new international spending rules "have put the small-market teams on a comparable level with the richer clubs," creating "a true scouting system" in which "the teams with the better scouts will get the better players." Rizzo analogized the Cubs' efforts to the Nationals' own aggressive, scouting-based spending before the team emerged last season.
- Recent call-up Andrew Lambo of the Pirates has new representation, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. The 25-year-old outfielder has chosen Beverly Hills Sports Council to replace his previous agency, Wasserman Media Group. As always, you can reference MLBTR's Agency Database to keep tabs on players' representation.
- One of the keys to the Bucs' successes this year — low-priced off-season acquisition Francisco Liriano — has excelled due to changes in his delivery that have improved his fastball command, explains Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Liriano's 2014 option appears likely to vest, and Pittsburgh will surely not complain about returning him to their rotation.
Here is Monday's list of notable players who have been placed on revocable trade waivers…
- The Nationals acquired David DeJesus from the Cubs earlier today and "almost immediately" put the outfielder on waivers, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. DeJesus' claiming period is up on Wednesday. Rival executives speculate that the Nats are trying to rid themselves of the approximately $2.5MM remaining on DeJesus' contract ($975K in salary, $1.5MM in a buyout of his 2014 option). This could be an attempt by the Nats to flip DeJesus, simply a procedural move or perhaps they never expected the Cubs to accept their original waiver claim on DeJesus in the first place. Amanda Comak of the Washington Times (Twitter link) opines that perhaps the Nats claimed DeJesus to keep him away from another contender.
- The Angels placed left-hander Jason Vargas and shortstop Erick Aybar on waivers, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). The claiming period for both players expires on Wednesday. Vargas was dealt to Anaheim from Seattle in exchange for Kendrys Morales last December and has posted a 3.92 ERA, 6.1 K/9 and 2.00 K/BB ratio in 101 IP in 2013, though he spent almost two months on the DL recovering from a blood clot in his left armpit. Vargas has roughly $1.5MM still owed to him from his $8.5MM salary for the season and the southpaw is a free agent this winter. He could make a cheap pickup for a team looking for starting pitching depth during the pennant race, though Vargas' career road splits indicate that he struggles when he isn't at a pitcher-friendly ballpark like Angel Stadium or Safeco Field.
- Aybar signed a four-year, $35MM extension in April 2012 that covered the 2013-16 seasons and Aybar is hitting .282/.316/.380 in 417 PA in the first year of that new contract. Though the 29-year-old is known more for his solid glove (he won a Gold Glove in 2011), Aybar has a below-average -8.2 UZR.150 this season. The Cardinals had some interest in Aybar before the trade deadline but had no interest in giving up a top prospect in exchange for the veteran shortstop.
For a reminder on how revocable trade waivers and August trades work, check out MLBTR's August trades primer.
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.
The Nationals have acquired David DeJesus from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later, the team has announced via press release. The Nationals reportedly claimed DeJesus off waivers before working out a trade with Chicago. In order to clear roster space for their newest acquisition, the Nationals released fellow outfielder Roger Bernadina.
The 33-year-old DeJesus is hitting .250/.330/.401 in 84 games (318 plate appearances) for the Cubs this season. While his overall batting line is solid, he's developed a significant platoon split in recent years and is hitting just .156/.224/.178 against lefties in a small sample of 45 plate appearances this season. DeJesus can play all three outfield positions, though The Fielding Bible isn't a fan of his work in center field, and Ultimate Zone Rating has considered his glove in center to be merely average over the course of his career. Both metrics praise his work at the outfield corners.
DeJesus has roughly $975K of his $4.25MM salary remaining this season and is under control via a $6.5MM club option for 2014. That option carries a $1.5MM buyout, so the Nationals will essentially have a $5MM decision on their hands in the offseason regarding DeJesus. Barring a significant injury, it seems likely that they'll exercise that option.
DeJesus originally signed a two-year, $10MM contract with the Cubs prior to the 2012 season. In 232 games with Chicago, he batted .258/.343/.403. Fangraphs pegs his value as a Cub at 3.1 wins above replacement, suggesting that despite his injuries, he was well worth the money the Cubs invested.
DeJesus is the second outfielder that the Nationals have acquired from the Cubs this summer, as Washington has already dealt for Scott Hairston. Chicago GM Jed Hoyer and president Theo Epstein have also moved Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano, Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger, Carlos Marmol and minor leaguer Ronald Torreyes in trades this summer.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports was the first to report the trade (via his colleague Jon Heyman on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the trade came after Washington had claimed DeJesus on waivers.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.