Mark DeRosa a low risk for Cleveland…..or is he?


If there is going to be any piece of news that will pull me out of the depression of another cold, dark offseason in Cleveland and throw me straight into spring training ecstasy, the link Tweeted by Ken Rosenthal yesterday was the Yardbarker article that could do the trick:  

DeRosa, 36, said that the Nationals, Rangers, Indians, Pirates all have spoken with his surgeon. He also said that the Giants have expressed interest in bringing him back, even though he did not give them the expected return on a two-year, $12 million free-agent contract.

Mark DeRosa? Love of my baseball life back in Cleveland?  Is Ken Rosenthal toying with my emotions?

Alas, it’s still winter and only a rumor and there may be a few other teams standing in the way of the object of my affection finding his way back to me Cleveland. And then there’s that stupid thing that I like to call my baseball common sense rearing its evil head. 

Shit. Good things never last very long.

When last Cleveland saw DeRosa, he appeared in 71 games and hit  .270 with 13 homeruns, 13 doubles and 50 RBI’s before he was traded to St. Louis for some guy named Chris Perez.  That was in 2009, and since then, DeRosa has spent time in St. Louis and, most recently, San Francisco where he appeared in only 47 games last season, hitting .279  with a couple of doubles and a handful of RBIs (12).  For the last few years, DeRosa has battled a left wrist injury that has required two surgeries and a few stints on the DL.  After he was cleared to play in  August, DeRosa hit .367/.439/.388 in 57 plate appearances. DeRosa is 36 years old, plays both corners of the outfield and three infield positions and is a strong veteran voice in any clubhouse. All things that the Indians desperately need.

On his own, DeRosa has a resume that may be just what the Tribe needs to prop up this team and slide Cleveland in to postseason play. I can see how shelling out a few million for a guy that can play five positions and be a strong influence to inexperienced players could be tempting, especially when the guy is not really looking for an every day job and just wants a chance to play.  If I stopped right there, I can see the low risk that could lead to high reward that everyone is talking about with DeRosa . The problem is  that I can’t stop there when the Indians have a  roster full of “low cost, low risk” and inexperienced players waiting to take the field in 2012. 

As the winter meetings approach, the Indians have added Derek Lowe, resigned Grady Sizemore, avoided arbitration with Fausto Carmona and invited Matt Pagnozzi to spring training.  Let’s see, that gives us a 14 year veteran that is coming off of last year with a 5.05 ERA and the most losses in the National League, a guy that has had five surgeries and hasn’t played a full season since 2008, returning a starting pitcher that has had one good season and four lousy seasons in the last five years and yet another catcher looking for a job.  Adding in Travis Hafner’s shoulder and the uncertainty of Ubaldo Jimenez and I have to wonder at what point a team full of low risk players adds up to one high risk bomb waiting to explode?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Mark DeRosa and, if he could hold numbers anywhere close to the numbers he put up after his return from the DL in August, I’d be the first one standing at the airport waiting for him to get off the plane. But DeRosa is just another guy in a long line of “wait and see” players that has landed on the front door of the Jake in the last few years and, frankly, I am just exhausted with the waiting.

When, Mark Shapiro, is it our turn? 

I don’t expect Prince Fielder and I am not holding my breath for Albert Pujols but surely, there is someone, somewhere that can help bring this city a parade down Euclid…………..isn’t there?   I guess the whole “low cost, low risk” attitude by the Tribe front office has finally exhausted me into psychosis because I am about to write something I never thought would ever come out of my computer……….is DeRosa the best we can do? And, while I have pulled out my *other number 7* Cleveland jersey from the closet so that I can dream of a day that I will again watch Mark DeRosa on the field at the Jake, it makes me sad to think that Cleveland just may never get themselves to the promised land………..

At least not without a change in ownership.


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