"I couldn't even find my way to the locker room," DeJesus said. "I've never been on this side of the field."
Around 1 p.m. CT, DeJesus was out with his wife Kim -- who grew up in Illinois -- when he missed a phone call from Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
"My wife was like, 'You probably got traded.' Just joking around," DeJesus said.
Turns out she was right.
"The Trade Deadline is one of those times where, once you get through it, you're like, 'OK.' But now it's not OK," DeJesus said. "Now I've been a part of both sides now. But I'm excited about being a Washington National."
The Cubs will receive a player to be named or cash in the deal.
The 33-year-old outfielder hit .250 with 19 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBIs in 84 games for the Cubs this season, playing almost entirely center field. He'll likely be a backup corner outfielder for the Nationals, who were a preseason World Series contender but entered Monday 15 1/2 games out of the National League East and will likely need a late-season push to have a shot at the Wild Card.
"I hope these guys can make a run and he can be a part of that," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "For the next 39 games, we felt like it was the right decision. But that doesn't close the door on David with the Cubs in the future. He represents himself well, he's a pro, and there's a lot of things he does that we'd like to have in the clubhouse again."
With the trade, the Cubs were able to activate outfielder Brian Bogusevic. Between him and fellow outfielder Ryan Sweeney, this opens an opportunity for the front office and Sveum to get a look at some other players who could contribute into the future.
DeJesus signed with the Cubs on Nov. 30, 2011, and has a $6.5 million team option on his contract for next year or a $1.5 million buyout. In his 232 games with the Cubs, he hit .258 with 15 homers and 77 RBIs.
"He's the ultimate professional," second baseman Darwin Barney said. "Just the way he handles his game on the field, the way he takes his at-bats, everything. That's one of those guys you can still take what you learn from him and move forward, but it's going to be hard not having him around."
DeJesus joins Alfonso Soriano, Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger, Brent Lillibridge, Matt Garza and Scott Hairston (who is also with the Nationals) as Cubs players to be traded this season.
"You lose what he does on the field, as well as everything he does in the clubhouse, and off the field, too -- his professionalism," Sveum said of DeJesus. "He's just another guy, like Soriano, that's tough to lose because of all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes."