On Friday the Los Angeles Dodgers parted with pitching prospect Chase De Jong, trading him to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Minor League reliever Aneurys Zabala and shortstop Andrew Jackson. Neither of the prospects the Dodgers received were on the Mariners’ 40-man roster.
Conversely, by moving De Jong, the Dodgers cleared one spot on their 40-man roster. Los Angeles added De Jong to the 40-man last November to protect against potentially losing him in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft.
The Long Beach, Calif. native was traded to the Dodgers by the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2015 in exchange for an international bonus slot. Tim Locastro was also sent to Los Angeles in the deal.
De Jong was initially stung b news of being traded to the Mariners, according to
Bob Dutton of The News Tribune:
“It does sting a little bit,” he admitted, “but that hurt was very short-lived knowing the opportunity here was much more prevalent. I think I’ll be able to help this team out.”
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said the club views De Jong in high regard and sought after the 23 year old since last July:
“He’s young and polished and has four pitches,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He throws lots of strikes and has shown strong performance at upper levels. He also has six-plus years of major-league control and has three options. There’s plenty to like.”
“He’s a player we’ve tried to acquire multiple times dating back to last July. So this was just a culmination of what I think is hard work to try to drag him in.”
The Dodgers and Mariners have made for recent trade partners on multiple occasions within the past year. Their first trade was the swap Chris Taylor of Zach Lee last June. Then in November, the Dodgers sent Carlos Ruiz to the Pacific Northwest in exchange for Vidal Nuño.
De Jong, who was named Texas League Pitcher of the Year, went 14-5 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 141.2 innings across 25 starts with Double-A Tulsa last season. He ranked first in the Texas League in wins and WHIP, second in ERA and fourth in strikeouts.
De Jong was also named to the Texas League post-season All-Star Team. He was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City in September and collected eight strikeouts while allowing just one run in 5.1 innings of his lone regular-season start.
The right-hander made two starts for OKC in the postseason, allowing a combined nine runs and recording nine strikeouts in 10 innings pitched. De Jong’s path to the Majors appears to be less convoluted with the Mariners, who don’t boast as much organizational pitching depth as the Dodgers.