Untimely injury of David DeJesus complicates possible trade scenarios
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com June 15, 2013 5:12PM
Chicago Cubs center fielder David DeJesus (9) attempts to catch a ball hit by New York Mets' Juan Lagares third inning of a baseball game on Friday, June 14, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Updated: June 15, 2013 5:13PM
NEW YORK – Four or five weeks on the disabled list could mean at least a year more of a Cubs career for David DeJesus.
That’s the ironic reality of the shoulder injury that put the Cubs’ leadoff hitter – and one of the team’s top three or four trading chips -- on the DL Saturday.
The timing of the injury couldn’t be worse for a front office with an eye toward getting young pitching in return for valuable veterans such as DeJesus at the July 31 trading deadline – or better for a field staff and teammates who’d like to see DeJesus stick around.
DeJesus, who makes $4.25 million this year, has an affordable $6.5 million club option for next season.
“But he should be back before it even gets close and get plenty of at-bats [before the deadline],” said Sveum, who also said DeJesus will need a rehab assignment to get up to game speed once he misses a few weeks.
“You don’t want to see guys like that traded, but we all know it’s part of the game.”
More likely, it’s going to be very close.
DeJesus, who was diagnosed with a shoulder sprain after colliding with the wall trying to make a catch Friday night, won’t have an MRI on the shoulder until Monday, after which the club will evaluate the severity and potential length of DL time.
The expectation among club officials is that DeJesus will require three weeks just to rest and allow the shoulder to heal before resuming baseball activities.
With his track record and affordability, there’s little to no chance he would clear waivers after July 31 to be part of any August trade.
Sveum won’t complain if the result is that DeJesus remains a fixture in his lineup going into next season.
“You just don’t find leadoff hitters like that around the league,” Sveum said. “When a guy can play that kind of defense and do what he does in the leadoff spot, it’s hard to find that asset around baseball, to have an .800 OPS, against right-handed pitching.”
His leadoff choices against right-handed starters with DeJesus on the DL underscore his point: Luis Valbuena or Ryan Sweeney.
“Valbuena makes sense because he’s going to walk more, but Sweeney’s always been a guy that kind of walks in his career as well,” Sveum said. “It probably depends a little bit on who I decide I want to hit behind [Anthony] Rizzo in the sixth spot as much as the leadoff spot.”