CHICAGO - At around 1 p.m., David DeJesus looked down at his cell phone and saw that he had a missed call from Cubs team president Theo Epstein.
DeJesus and his wife Kim were out getting green juice at the time, and DeJesus mentioned who the missed call was from.
“You probably got traded,” Kim DeJesus joked.
They weren’t laughing a few minutes later.
DeJesus quickly called Epstein back and learned the news - that he’d been shipped from the Cubs to the Nats in exchange for a player to be named later.
“It’s one of those moments where time stops,” DeJesus said. “I’m like, ‘OK.’ So my wife, she’s crying. This is her, she grew up in Wheaton, Ill., 45 minutes from Wrigley Field, and it’s a surreal moment. I was kind of thrown. It threw me off but coming over here, seeing the guys, meeting the guys, it’s been hell but I can’t wait to get the game over with and, hopefully after a win, can go home and decompress a little bit.”
DeJesus could be seen walking across the field at Wrigley a little after 3 p.m., leaving behind the Cubs’ clubhouse and heading on his way to his new squad.
“It’s different. I couldn’t even find my way to the locker room,” DeJesus laughed. “I’ve never been on this side of the field so I had to go upstairs. I was like, ‘Do I go up the stairs? Or is there another way around?’ It was kind of surreal but I got through it OK.”
The 33-year-old outfielder admits that he didn’t think he’d be going anywhere after making it through the non-waiver trade period without being dealt, but there he was, wearing a Nationals hat and sitting in the visitors’ dugout before the game, talking about the trade that moved him to his fourth big league team.
“The trade deadline is one of those times where once you get through it, you’re like, ‘OK.’ ” he said. “But now it’s not OK. I’ve been a part of both sides now. But I’m excited to be a Washington National. I’m ready to, whatever role I have on the team, I’m going to give it my all and try to be a guy out there who’s a leader and a guy young guys can learn from.”
The Nats have had trouble getting production out of their bench players this season, but DeJesus is ready for a reserve role that might not see him get more than a couple at-bats a week, especially with Davey Johnson saying that he will try and get Tyler Moore more playing time.
“I’m comfortable because that’s my game,” DeJesus said. “My game is grinding out at-bats, making the pitcher pitch and giving it my best. I’m going to work both sides of the plate, get on base and let the guys behind me do their job.”
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters that the Cubs will try and re-sign DeJesus this offseason, assuming the Nats decline their $6.5 million team option on the veteran outfielder. DeJesus, who was very well-liked in the Cubs’ clubhouse was asked about those comments.
“It’s an opportunity there,” he said. “I love Chicago and I love what they’re building here but I’m a National now. I want to win here. We’ll go from there.”
Game Update: One inning into this one, the Nats already trail 3-0.
Nate Schierholtz crushed a 2-2 curveball from Jordan Zimmermann way out to right, putting the Cubs up by three just four batters into the bottom of the first inning.
Not the best of starts.