Nationals acquire DeJesus from Cubs, release Bernadina (updated)

CHICAGO - The Nationals this afternoon acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a player to be named.

DeJesus, 33, was claimed off waivers by the Nationals. Ironically, since the Nationals open a four-game series at Wrigley Field tonight, DeJesus will only need to switch clubhouses to meet up with his new team.

To make space on the 25-man roster for DeJesus, the Nationals released outfielder Roger Bernadina.

A career .279 hitter who can play all three outfield spots, DeJesus is hitting .250 with six homers and 27 RBIs this season. The left-handed hitter has a .793 OPS against right-handed pitching.

DeJesus is signed through 2013, but the Nationals will hold a club option for 2014. The Cubs have been in cost-cutting mode, and the departure of DeJesus will save them approximately $2.5 million. He would earn $6.5 million under the team option in 2014 or the Nats can buy him out for $1.5 million.

The timing of this deal is a bit strange when you consider the monetary aspect. Unless the Nats plan to pick up DeJesus’ option and pay him $6.5 million for next season (a large sum for a bench player) they will get just over five weeks of his services and need to pay the remainder of his 2013 salary as well as his buyout.

When you’re in the thick of a pennant race and have a large budget to work with, that’s not a big deal. When you’re 9 1/2 games out of the final NL wild card spot, it seems like a lot of money to take on.

Bernadina was hitting .178 with two homers and six RBIs and hadn’t been able to repeat his stellar 2012, when he batted a career-high .291 with five homers and 25 RBIs, emerging as a key bench player for the National League East champs.

The 29-year-old has loads of raw ability, and he flashed his promise last season, but members of the Nationals’ brass seemed to grow increasingly frustrated with his miscues and repeated mental lapses. Acquiring another left-handed-hitting outfielder who can play multiple positions and has some speed made Bernadina expendable.

This is the second time in the last six weeks that the Nationals have made a deal with the Cubs to acquire a bench player for a player to be named later. The Nats acquired Scott Hairston in a trade with Chicago in early July.

Reactions from the Nationals’ clubhouse to come in a bit.

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