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.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.