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Rays pick up option on DeJesus

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Published:   |   Updated: November 3, 2013 at 11:18 PM

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The Tampa Bay Rays not only picked up the 2014 option on outfielder David DeJesus on Sunday night, but DeJesus confirmed in a text to the Tribune that he and the team are working toward a multi-year deal.

DeJesus, who turns 34 in December, will make $6.5 million this season as part of a two-year, $10 million deal with a club option he signed before the 2012 season with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs traded DeJesus to the Nationals on Aug. 19. The Rays acquired DeJesus on Aug. 23 from the Nationals for a player to be named later, who turned out to be minor league left-handed pitcher Matthew Spann.

Talking before the Rays' tiebreaker game against the Texas Rangers in September, DeJesus said he felt at home with the Rays the moment he first met with manager Joe Maddon.

“Not knowing anything about here I fell in love right away,” he said.

DeJesus knew the Rays had the choice of picking up the option or paying him a $1.5 million buyout, which would seem to the Rays' way, giving the team's payroll restrictions. But DeJesus said in September he was hopeful he could remain with the team.

“This is an organization that I'm really confident about,” he said. “They make a lot of right moves, and they feel that I'm the type of player that fits in with these guys pretty well, so I would hope to be back ... Ultimately I would love to be here.”

The 11-year veteran, a career .279 hitter, batted .260 in 104 at-bats over 35 games with Tampa Bay. He hit two home runs and drove in 11 RBI. He also hit .333 against the Red Sox in the American League Division Series.

DeJesus ended the longest game in Rays history when he singled home Desmond Jennings in the 18th inning for a 5-4, 18-inning victory Sept. 20 against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

DeJesus will platoon in left field with Matt Joyce and will also serve as Jennings's backup in center field. He can also fill in at right field for Wil Myers.

DeJesus could also rotate through the designated hitter spot with Joyce and Myers, meaning the Rays may no longer be in the market for a traditional DH. If so, they can re-sign Delmon Young and use him as the right-handed half of a DH platoon with DeJesus and Joyce.

 

rmooney@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7227

Twitter: @RMooneyTBO

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