Aug 23, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder David DeJesus (7) works out prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Could Acquiring David DeJesus Set The Rays Up to Trade Matt Joyce?


When the Rays acquired David DeJesus on Friday, their short-term goal was simple: acquire an above-average hitter and defender capable of bolstering their team down the stretch. However, the acquisition of DeJesus could affect more than the rest of this season. Following the year, DeJesus has a $6.5 million team option with a $1.5 million buyout. 6.5 million dollars is a lot by Rays standards. But there is one scenario where it is easy to envision them excercising DeJesus’ option: if they trade Matt Joyce.

Matt Joyce and David DeJesus have a lot in common. Both are lefty hitters who primarily play the corner outfield and the last three years, neither has hit lefties at all. Joyce has the advantages of being 28 while DeJesus is 33 and having two years of team control left compared to DeJesus’ one, but DeJesus is also a better defender capable of playing centerfield. They do have a few places in which they diverge, but if you have one of them, why would you need the other? For the rest of the season, the Rays have both of them just to give them more depth and more capable hitters coming off the bench. But next season, there is little chance that both DeJesus and Joyce will be in the team. It seems pretty clear that Joyce will be the player the Rays will choose to keep following the season. However, having DeJesus gives them the flexibility to trade Joyce as well.

Matt Joyce made $2,450,000 this season as a first-time arbitration-eligible player. In 2014, he should make in excess of $4 million. That is just $2.5 million less than DeJesus and just $1 million less including DeJesus’ $1.5 million buyout. The only reason for the Rays to keep Joyce over DeJesus is his additional year of team control. With that in mind, the Rays could gage interest in Joyce leading up to the day when they have to decide on DeJesus’ option. In all probability, Joyce will stay and DeJesus will go. But there is a real possibility thaf the DeJesus trade will affect a lot more than just the final month of 2013.

Tags: David DeJesus Matt Joyce Tampa Bay Rays

  • phattitudes

    For the Rays, $$$ seem to dictate the roster. Therefore DeJesus would seem to be a rental only. I cannot see giving up on Joyce with his power component and with the amount of control they still have left on him. Possibly DeJesus could be kept if they decide to pool the DH role. They could go with a lefty righty combo with Young being the righty. Young could be relatively cheap. In that case Fuld may be the vulnerable one. DeJesus gives you a lot of what Fuld brings with more offense and they have long coveted DeJesus. However Sam is an organization favorite and loaded with intangibles. I believe the performance down the stretch will have a lot to do with the direction they go next year. It may come down to a willingness by DeJesus to renegotiate a more team friendly contract.

    • Robbie_Knopf

      In all likelihood, you’re right that DeJesus will likely have to re-sign for cheaper of leave. But I thought it was interesting how acquiring DeJesus gives the Rays a chance to trade Joyce without much of a hitch should the right offer come along.

      • Greg Roark

        yeah, i really doubt your knowledge on this subject, why on earth would we trade matt joyce? he mashes rightys which is his job, youre talking about trading him based on dejesus’ better defensive profile , no way . As much as the Rays covet that we covet the ability to hit as well. it would be one thing if dejesus didnt have the same problem with lefties as joyce does but that isnt the case. We probably keep both . scott is long gone after this season we need a DH to hit rightys .

        • Robbie_Knopf

          Do you know why the Rays would trade Joyce for the right package? He’s an extremely flawed player. He plays below-average defense and can’t hit a lick against lefties. All he can do is hit right-handed pitching. That’s it. And even then, he’s an extremely streaky player season after season. The Rays are a team that places a premium on versatility. Matt Joyce is one of the least versatile players on the team. The one thing he does well masks all his other deficiencies and at the end of the day, his roster spot is more replaceable than you would think (especially since Zobrist could slide to a corner OF spot, meaning the Rays could sign an outfielder or a second baseman to replace him). If the right offer comes along, of course they’ll trade him! Does that necessarily mean they will? Of course not–probably they won’t. But it’s a real possibility now that DeJesus and Joyce essentially cancel each other out.

  • phattitudes

    Ya they are both nice lefties, I just get greedy and want to keep both. Still hate to part with the Joyce power. It seems to be the hardest ingredient to find on the bargain market. Most likely Johnson is gone next year since he is a FA. Therefore losing both him an Joyce really would deplete our top two left handed power hitters ( 31 HRs ytd). DeJesus is a nice fit but we would miss the thump in the lineup. As a matter of fact I would like to see Joe get all three in lineup against rights, maybe even add Scott on his return. It would require taking ABs from Jennings or Escobar but would really load up up (when they’re hitting). For the September run, it is a nice problem to have.

    • Robbie_Knopf

      I think you may focusing a little too much on power, but I see your point. If the Rays are adding depth for September, why can’t they add it before the season?