Just Say No to DeRosa

Lately, there has been a fair amount of press linking the Yankees to Passaic, N.J. native Mark DeRosa. Hopefully, this is just idle chatter from the media. Mark DeRosa, despite all his position flexibility, would not be a good fit for the Yankees.

DeRosa is a pretty late bloomer in terms of baseball. From his age 23-27 seasons, he totaled only 442 plate appearances. They weren’t bad, as he hit .283/.339/.403, but they weren’t anything spectacular either, especially considering the .403 slugging percentage.

In years 28-30, DeRosa got more playing time and amassed 799 plate appearances. However, they were not pretty; he hit just .249/.308/.368 in three seasons between Atlanta and Texas. Something clicked in 2006, though, and DeRosa finally came out of his shell.

From ’06-’08, he hit .291/.368/.453 between the Rangers in ’06 and the Cubs in ’07 and ’08. After 2008, the Cubs traded DeRosa to the Indians, who flipped him to the Cardinals. His combined line was .250/.319/.433, good for a 99 OPS+. His time in Cleveland was better, as he posted a .799 OPS there as opposed to one .103 points lower in Saint Louis.

All in all, DeRosa’s career line sits at .273/.343/.424/.767, 97+. DeRosa’s value, apparently, comes not from his bat, though, but his ability to play may positions. His career UZR/150 is negative in nearly every position, though. Right field is where he’s played best, as evidenced by his 21.6 UZR/150. However, that data is collected over only 160 games, which isn’t too big a sample.

Anyway, what does this all mean? It means the Yankees should avoid Mark DeRosa. His bat is basically average–he’s posted OPS+ numbers of 100 or better only four times in his career and his bat is nothing too great. If his line in Cleveland better represented his career numbers, I’d be much more open to bringing him in. That isn’t the case. If the Yankees are going to stick without a big bat in left field, they might as well save their money a bit and just stick with the current option, Melky Cabrera. As for the argument that DeRosa would fit well because he can play so many positions, I ask this: what position, aside from LF is DeRosa going to play a lot?

None. He does play shortstop, though it doesn’t really matter because Derek Jeter doesn’t take many days off. Robinson Cano isn’t old and doesn’t need many days off at second base, and the same goes for Mark Teixeira, who’s now backed up by Nick Johnson–a strong fielder himself. Alex Rodriguez appears healthy as he doesn’t need his second hip operation, so maybe he won’t need a day off per week like in 2009. Even if he did, there are more effective ways to “replace” Rodriguez on a weekly basis. Using Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo, or maybe even Jerry Hairston, Jr. would be much more beneficial to the Yankees.

Basically, he would be a full time left-fielder and, frankly, Mark DeRosa does not mark a significant enough upgrade from Melky Cabrera to be worth pursuing. Though I’m not Melky’s biggest fan, I’d rather gamble on his improvement than overpay Mark DeRosa.

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