CHICAGO – David DeJesus and his wife were going out to get a healthy drink on Monday when the outfielder saw he had missed a call from Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein.
Kim DeJesus joked that he had been traded. It turns out she was right.
The Nationals acquired DeJesus in a deal with the Cubs, bolstering their bench for a late run at a playoff spot. It made for a strange day for DeJesus, who merely need to move over to the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field to join to his new team.
"It's one of those moments, you're like, 'Whoa,' and time stops," DeJesus said before Washington opened a four-game series at Chicago. "I look over at my wife and she's crying because she grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, 45 minutes from Wrigley Field. It's a surreal moment, it was kind of throwing me off.
"But coming over here, seeing the guys and meeting the guys, it's been a help. Can't wait to get the game over with - hopefully after a win - and go home and decompress a little bit."
DeJesus hit .250 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 84 games with the Cubs, who began the day in last in the NL Central. His new team is on the edge of the playoff race — the Nationals were 9½ games back of Cincinnati for the NL's second wild-card slot coming into the series — but DeJesus was excited for the opportunity.
"I'm going to give it my all," he said. "Try and be a guy out there as a leader and a guy that young guys can learn from."
The 33-year-old DeJesus is a career .279 hitter with 86 homers and 513 RBIs in 11 seasons with Kansas City, Oakland and Chicago. He can play all three outfield spots.
"He's a great addition," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He's a quality player. Anybody gets hurt, he can step right in and play at a high level."
DeJesus was one of the first acquisitions for the Cubs after Epstein became the president of baseball operations. He agreed to a $10 million, two-year contract in November 2011.
The Cubs get a player to be named in the trade with the Nationals, but they also save about $2.5 million, including a $1.5 million buyout for a 2014 team option worth $6.5 million. General manager Jed Hoyer said the money was a "strong consideration."
"We really like David a lot," Hoyer said. "I've told his agent and Theo told David directly, we'd be willing to talk to him about bringing him back at some point. He's a good mentor for our younger guys."
The Cubs activated outfielder Brian Bogusevic from the 15-day disabled list to take DeJesus' roster spot, and Hoyer said outfielder Ryan Sweeney likely will begin a rehab stint next week. Bogusevic had been out with a strained left hamstring, and Sweeney is recovering from a broken left rib.
The Nationals released outfielder Roger Bernardina to make room on their roster. Bernardina hit .178 in 85 games with Washington.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap