CHICAGO - David DeJesus’ wild week continues.
Hours after being acquired by the Nationals in a trade with the Cubs on Monday, DeJesus was placed back on revocable trade waivers by the Nats. Today, DeJesus heard multiple reports that he’d been claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Nationals have three options when it comes to DeJesus now that he’s been claimed: They can pull him back off waivers and keep him, which would leave them on the hook for the $2.5 million still owed to DeJesus (around $1 million for the remainder of this season and a $1.5 million buyout if next season’s team option of $6.5 million isn’t picked up); they can try and work out a trade with the Rays that would allow the Nats to get a prospect back in return; or they can essentially just let the Rays have DeJesus and his contract.
The last option rarely is put into place and would likely only come to fruition if the Nationals made a mistake by picking up DeJesus and just want to get rid of the money owed to him. More than likely, the Nats will see what type of prospect the Rays might be willing to give up in order to acquire DeJesus and then decide whether to hang on to the 33-year-old or trade him away.
The Nats and Rays have until tomorrow to work out some type of deal, or else DeJesus will remain a National.
“He’s here and his situation is no different than anybody else on the ball club,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “After you pass the (non-waiver) trading deadline, clubs are always putting guys on waivers to see who has interest. It’s another way of evaluating the talent you’ve got. And if somebody claims him and they offer you something you think fits in your future plans, you accept the deal. But it’s a normal practice. It’s not like this is some earth-shattering news.
“The only reason it’s kind of interesting is that we picked him up on waivers. But you’d be surprised at how many guys go on waivers every day that you don’t know anything about.”
The Nationals announced on Monday that they had acquired DeJesus from the Cubs for a player to be named later, but they won’t actually end up giving a player to Chicago. The Nats merely assumed a portion of the waiver fee and then took on DeJesus’ whole contract, which was fine with the Cubs, who are in cost-cutting mode.
Now, the Nats have their choice of how to act.
DeJesus heard about getting put back on waivers the other day, and while he admitted it’s a slight distraction not knowing what his immediate future is (largely so his wife and family know where he’ll end up), he’s just trying to stay focused on the day-to-day and remaining as prepared for playing time as possible.
“It’s one of those things that you never really expect when you’re a player,” DeJesus said. “You expect that you’re just gonna be on your team for the full season, but it’s part of the game. Many guys have gone through this, so I’m just gonna focus on the game and when I hear from my agent, if he lets me know I’m on another team, then we’ll go from there.”
DeJesus hasn’t started any of the three games with the Nats since coming over in the trade on Monday, and he isn’t in the starting lineup today. He’s gone 0-for-2 in two pinch-hit at-bats, and for the most part, that will probably be the type of role he’ll serve as long as he’s with the Nats.
“I had a little conversation with him yesterday,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Our situation is I’ve got a pretty set lineup. And with a couple left-handed bats in the lineup, when I rest people, I’m usually gonna use some right-handed bats, not a left-handed bat. I love having you and I’ll get you in ballgames, but until something shakes out, it’s gonna be more of a limited role.’ He understood that.”
Asked how he views his immediate future and how he’d like to see things shake out, DeJesus smiled and sighed.
“I don’t know,” DeJesus said. “They have studs here in the outfield, so playing time, I’m just gonna be a backup guy. I love watching these guys play, watching their approaches at the plate. As a veteran guy, I still like learning. But I still want to play, as well. So it’s one of those tough situations where I’m just gonna let things happen and I don’t think I can control any of it, so that actually makes it easier.
“If I’m here, I’d love to be here, and if I’m gone, that’s the way it is.”