Chase De Jong’s long, strange trip still just beginning

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Three trades in four seasons for the right-handed pitcher

Not to be confused with the spaceless Paul DeJong of the St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins minor league pitcher Chase De Jong has had an eventful career to date, and is still just 24 years young until late December.

A second round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012 out of the Cali prep ranks, Chase’s cousin Jordan was also drafted by the Jays a decade earlier. (Back when they had those awesome black uni’s, as modeled here by my favorite player ever Frank Catalanotto.)

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Chase De Jong was en route to pitch for the University of Southern California before Toronto’s perk package prevailed. He made strides in rookie ball over his first year-plus and was traded almost three years to the day after his draft selection to the Los Angeles Dodgers (along with Tim Locastro) for a pair of international bonus slots.

The Dodgers moved De Jong up to High-A after the trade and then up to Double-A in 2016.

The sinkerballer was excellent while with the Dodgers organization, limiting traffic on the bases and allowing very few baserunners. He pitches to contact and doesn’t miss a ton of bats, but is adept at keeping the ball in the park.

Less strikeouts and less home runs…who is this guy?

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MLB: Seattle Mariners-Media Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the start of the 2017 season, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners (In 2017, who wasn’t?) for infield prospect Drew Jackson and another minor leaguer.

De Jong suffered his worst career year in Seattle across Double-A, Triple-A and notably his major league debut.

He suffered career-high’s in ERA (5.99) and WHIP (1.55) and was called on for emergency duty with the big league club for four starts and seven appearances.

If you consider experience experience (like Loki), something good came out of 2017.

He returned to Double-A to start 2018 and found his groove once again for Double-A Arkansas. Back to his former self —that of maximizing opportunity and limiting opportunities for opponents no matter how many get on base— he was strong in just over 120 innings.

At the trade deadline, he was traded once again. For the third time in four years, De Jong was packaged with another minor leaguer so Seattle could acquire lefty reliever Zach Duke from the Minnesota Twins.

Promoted after the transaction, De Jong has made one start and one relief appearance so far at Triple-A Rochester. He has allowed six runs in nine innings.

It’s not the most exciting résumé, but when you’re traded not once, not twice but three times, you have to realize the inherent value a player that multiple teams do want has. He remains a member of the 40-man roster.

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