The Washington Nationals are looking more and more like a legitimate contender in the National League which means we might be seeing a lot of them in MLB rumors over the next month. They recently swept the NL West leading San Francisco Giants, including a come-from-behind win on Thursday night and sit 4.5 games ahead of the New York Mets in the NL East. However, the Nationals do need a little help in order to hold their lead in their division.
The Nationals seem to have been linked to Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office and the Washington ballclub was in the American League. However, if the Twins decide not to make a trade, or if the Nationals deem the price too high there are other options. Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus would be a solid addition to the Nationals. Okay, so doesn’t offer as much offensively as Span would but he is still a very capable defender in the outfield and can still play some baseball.
DeJesus owns a .272/.361/.389 AVG/OBP/SLG slash line which would look very nice sitting in the leadoff or number two-hole in the Nationals lineup. He doesn’t have much power but DeJesus still can rock the extra base hit as he already has 5 triples this season and 15 doubles. He isn’t much of a base stealer but he is an adept base runner that can add an extra element to the Nationals offense.
The Nationals should be able to get DeJesus on the cheap, at least in terms of top-grade prospects. Perhaps the Cubs show an interest in John Lannan who is withering away in AAA but could fit in well with the Cubs if they trade Matt Garza and/or Ryan Dempster. DeJesus signed a 2-year deal with the Cubs last November so there would only be one more year remaining on his deal after this season. He makes a respectable $4.5 million and there is a $6.5 million option for 2014 or he can be bought out for $1.5 million. DeJesus would add another bat into the outfield for the Nationals while giving manager Davey Johnson a legitimate upgrade over Rick Ankiel or Mark DeRosa.
In a perfect world the Nationals would field an outfield of Jayson Werth in right, Bryce Harper in center, and Mike Morse in left. That would leave Roger Bernadina and DeJesus as the bench outfielders. DeJesus is much better defensively than Xavier Nady, who is currently on the DL, and has a better bat than Bernadina and Ankiel. If they fail to land Span, DeJesus make a lot of sense and would be a welcome addition to the Nationals lineup, whether as a starting left fielder or right fielder or as a bench guy and late inning defensive replacement.