The Arizona Diamondbacks traded for veteran outfielder Jon Jay for pitchers Gabe Speier and Elvis Luciano.
Jay has played for the St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals over eight season. He is batting .307, 2 triples, a home run, 18 RBI and 28 runs scored in 59 games in 2018.
Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said on a conference call the Diamondbacks were very familiar with the veteran outfielder.
“He is somebody that we pursued in the offseason and just got a lot of comfort with,” Hazen said. “He’s off to a great start this year, having a really good season. We feel like he fits in nicely with what we’re trying to do. He fits in at all three outfield spots, so he comes in certainly at a time when we need him.”
Hazen said the deal came together in five to seven days, and the club had been looking at options for outfield depth when Pollock and Souza Jr. found themselves on the disabled list.
“It was something we had been talking about for a while, when the injuries first hit,” Hazen said. “We wanted to give a little bit of a shot….internally, mix and match and then when we sort of had A.J. go down and Steven go back on the (disabled list), we started to look harder at alternatives.”
The #Dbacks will assume Jon Jay’s entire $3 million salary with $1.5 million in incentives
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 7, 2018
Hazen felt the deal needed to be made sooner rather than later because of how closely the entire National League West division had played so far in the first two months of the season. Currently, the Diamondbacks and Rockies are tied for the division lead, and four of the five teams are within a game and a half from taking over first place.
“We felt like where we are, where we are in the division right now, where the division is shaking out with almost all five teams sitting right on top of each other, we felt like every marginal move was going to matter and it’s certainly mattering right now,” Hazen said. “Given that there’s still going to be some time between when we get a full complement of that team put together in spring training back together again, we felt like this was too important to sort of pass up.”
The Diamondbacks designated Kristopher Negron for assignment to make room for Jay on the 40-man roster. Hazen said Jay will be with the club on Friday at Colorado.