Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that the Nationals have acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Cubs for a player to be named later.
Washington is 60-63 and 9.5 games out of a playoff spot, so the pickup obviously isn’t for this season. DeJesus’ contract includes a $6.5 million team option (or $1.5 million buyout) for next year, which isn’t a crazy price to pay for a decent regular like DeJesus, but the Nationals already have Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span seemingly locked in as their 2014 outfield.
DeJesus is a left-handed hitter, so he doesn’t really fit as a platoon partner for Span, and $6.5 million would be awfully expensive for a fourth outfielder. Since signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs last offseason the 33-year-old DeJesus has hit .258 with 15 homers and a .746 OPS in 232 games while seeing time in all three outfield spots.
To make room for DeJesus’ arrival the Nationals released Roger Bernadina, who had been serving as their left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder. He’s hit just .178 in 85 games this season, but came into the year as a career .252 hitter with a .692 OPS.
If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.
While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.
The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.
A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.
A great read and a great history lesson.