CHICAGO — Three days after the Washington Nationals acquired David DeJesus in a waiver trade with the Chicago Cubs, the outfielder was claimed off revocable waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays, two sources told The Washington Times.
The Nationals have until Friday afternoon to decide if they will attempt to work out a deal with the Rays, let him go on the claim alone or pull him back and keep him.
“He’s here and it’s a situation no different than anybody else on the ballclub,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Thursday morning, downplaying the waiver claim. “Clubs are always putting guys on waivers to see who has interest. It’s another way to evaluate the talent you’ve got. If somebody claims him and they offer you somebody you think fits in the future plans, you might 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 because we picked him up on waivers. You’d be surprised how many guys go on waivers you don’t even know about.”
Johnson is correct, as the majority of players on major league rosters are put on waivers after the July 31 deadline as standard practice. The waivers are easily revocable and most players get pulled back. It’s often used as a tool to gauge, as Johnson said, the interest in players for possible offseason trades, too.
There are plenty of reasons the Nationals could opt to work out a deal with the Rays, though what return they may get is unclear given that the Rays also just signed Delmon Young to a minor league deal and may not be inclined to give up much for DeJesus.
However, there is $2.5 million remaining on his contract, and the Nationals do not have a whole lot of places to get him playing time at this point.
“I had a conversation with him (Wednesday),” Johnson said. “I told him, ‘I’ve got a pretty set lineup and with a couple left-handed bats in the lineup, so when I rest people I’m going to probably rest with some right-handed bats, not left-handed. I love having you and I’ll get you in ballgames but until something shakes out it’s going to be a more limited role.’ He understood where we were coming from.”
That said, the Nationals claimed DeJesus because they see him as an upgrade over what they had on their bench previously in Roger Bernadina.
Additionally, one source indicated that if they feel they’ll be able to get him 300-400 at-bats in 2014 — which would likely only happen as a result of an injury to one of their regulars — they may consider picking up the $6.5 million option on his contract for next year. The Nationals could’ve certainly gotten him close to that many this season when Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper missed a month of time each with injuries. That course of action, however, still appears to be a longshot.
Whether DeJesus will remain with the Nationals beyond Friday is now the question.