The San Francisco Giants Signed Mark DeRosa, but in Other News....
For all those sportscasters in the Bay Area, nothing needs to be said about the Mark DeRosa signing other than he inked a deal with the Giants. Once you mention that, just move on to Sharks and Warriors highlights because this signing was only more of the same from the genius that is Brian Sabean.
DeRosa is going to be 35, he's a journeyman utility man who is a nice complimentary bat that was available for cheap. And he signed with the Giants? Well that sounds about right, a player with those credentials is no different than Sabean's daily lunch centered around a roast beef sandwich from Subway. He enjoys it and will continue to prefer it over any other sandwich even though a juicy tri-tip sandwich clearly tastes much, much better.
OK, I'll stop with the food analogies. I'm getting hungry myself as I type this but back to the point, this is just more of the same from the Giants and given their needs it is a move that simply doesn't make sense for the Orange & Black.
DeRosa's on-base percentage after being traded to an impressive St. Louis Cardinals team was an abysmal .290. That is just .05 points higher than Bengie Molina's on-base percentage for all of last year.
While DeRosa is a great utility man who can play all over the field, you don't want to pay a utility player $6 million per season. Juan Uribe and Andres Torres can combine to be just as versatile as DeRosa for about $4.5 million less per season.
But the Giants aren't paying DeRosa to be a utility man; they are paying him to be either their everyday third baseman or everyday corner outfielder. Either way, he will be hindering playing time for one of San Francisco's many unproven youngsters who the Giants need to see play everyday in 2010 in order to get a sense of their potential.
If DeRosa ends up as the everyday third-baseman, then he and Sandoval will man the corner infield spots. And if that is the case, you can say goodbye to the excellent defense from Sandoval and Ishikawa at the corners, because DeRosa is an average defensive third baseman at best.
Furthermore, DeRosa just doesn't have the pop that the Giants and most teams need from the corner infield/corner outfield spot. DeRosa's career slugging percentage is just .424, much lower than free-agent first baseman Adam Laroche's .491 mark.
Yes, DeRosa hit 23 home runs last year and 21 with the Chicago Cubs two seasons ago, but the previous year he hit just 10 home runs in almost exactly the same amount of at-bats as he had when he hit 21 bombs in 2008.
Essentially, DeRosa is Aaron Rowand 2.0 (minus the big contract) because like Rowand, DeRosa's already average career power numbers are going to come down playing at AT&T park.
It is absolutely certain that he's going to hit no more than 20 home runs, and playing in San Francisco 81 times a year he will be lucky to reach the 15 home run mark.
Is this who they have in mind to "protect" Sandoval by hitting fifth in the order?
I just don't get it. What happened to going young? The Giants have stated their wish to put a much younger and faster team on the field but they haven't nearly followed through.
Rowand, Edgar Renteria, and Freddy Sanchez are all on the wrong side of 30 and are considered complimentary players. Although Sanchez brings the most to the table of the three by far (being a former batting champ and a solid defensive second-baseman), none of them can be true difference makers.
Adding DeRosa to the mix just adds to the clutter of so-called "complimentary" players. But the Giants don't have a hitter for them to compliment. What good does it do to keep adding complimentary players when there is no big bat who can take the pressure off the rest of the lineup?
Sandoval is a rising star, but you need more than one true solid power bat in your lineup and Sandoval is the only guy on the roster right now that will hit more than 20 home runs.
That is simply not enough pop to compete with the true elite teams in the league. Now the Giants could still go out and sign and Adam LaRoche to play first base, a player I have been adamantly pulling for them to sign, but at this point signing him would erase any speed in the lineup.
As of right now, the Giants plan to platoon Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres in left field and hit leadoff. Both players have amazing speed and if they produce at the level they can, they will be solid leadoff threats.
However if the Giants sign Laroche and are forced to start DeRosa at corner outfield, then either the Velez/Torres combo will be without a spot or Schierholtz will be without a spot.
Starting DeRosa in left, essentially forces the Giants to put someone in the leadoff spot who, even at their best, could steal maybe 10 bases for a season. That is simply not enough of a base stealing threat for a team that could really benefit from speed guys in the ball park they play in.
If you start DeRosa in right field over Schierholtz then you are going to lose one of the top defensive right fielders in the game. Schierholtz has solid range, knows how to play the difficult right field at AT&T, and in his two month stint as a starter last year, threw out so many runners that teams completely stopped running on him. His arm was that strong and accurate.
Now if the Giants plan on only upgrading their offense by signing DeRosa and Uribe, then 2010 is just going to be more of the same. Fans will continue to complain about Rowand striking out every other at-bat, Renteria starting instead of Uribe and the leadoff spot being a revolving door.
And instead of complaining about Molina hitting cleanup, they are going to complain about DeRosa hitting fifth.
It is simply more of the same from Sabean and the Giants. Nothing against DeRosa as he is a fine player who was, in my opinion, a good pickup by the Cardinals last season. Unfortunately it just didn't work out, as DeRosa struggled and got hurt but the move was still one that many teams were looking to make at the trade deadline last year.
However, it is simply not the right move for the Giants. DeRosa is a type of player that teams looking for the final piece of the puzzle sign as a free-agent, not a team who needs a major offensive overhaul.
At this point, either two things are going to happen: the Giants will sign a LaRoche/Beltre-type to add power and subsequently they will lose any speed at the top of the order; or they will stand as is with just signing DeRosa and probably Uribe and won't have enough pop to compete with the Colorado Rockies who right now are my pick to win the NL West.
Having speed at the top of the order and some added pop from a guy like LaRoche would have made for a competitive lineup for next season.
Unfortunately for Giants fans, the DeRosa signing makes it is almost certain that their offense is going to struggle once again in 2010.
And that means the seventh straight year missing the playoffs.
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