MLB Trade Speculation: 7 Possible Destinations for Mark DeRosa
As the Giants outfield continues to get more crowded and Pablo Sandoval continues to hit, there is less and less space on the team for Mark DeRosa. He is not good enough to start or a strong-enough defender to warrant a spot as a defensive replacement, and so he really only can help out as an occasional pinch hitter.
With Darren Ford already having an impact and Brandon Belt making some noise down in Fresno, roster spots are coming at a premium, and youth is the valued commodity.
The Florida Marlins have already been cited as considering the 36-year-old utility man. Since one team is showing interest, I thought I'd look at some other clubs that may be enticed to bid for DeRosa's services.
Here are seven teams Mark DeRosa could call his own before season's end.
New York Yankees
Brian Cashman and the Yankees have never been known to shy away from pulling the trigger on midseason deals.
The two corner outfielders Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher have started 2011 deplorably. Swisher, hitting .208 with just two extra base-hits, is not typically a slow starter, but being the veteran he is, could easily find his way out of his current funk.
Gardner, on the other hand, has been struggling for a while. He hit only .233 after the All-Star break last season, and saw his OPS dip from .811 before to .698 after. So far in 2011, he is hitting a measly .169.
Given that the only other outfielder on the roster is Andruw Jones, the Bronx Bombers may be looking for a corner outfielder in the upcoming months.
The Tigers starting third baseman, Brandon Inge, is hitting .224 with a .606 OPS through 76 ABs in 2011. He is a career .237 hitter, with an OPS of .700.
Ryan Raburn, the starting second baseman, is off to a slow start, hitting .238 through his 84 ABs this year. Raburn is a versatile player, capable of playing second base, first base and all outfield positions, fitting a similar profile as Mark DeRosa.
But at age 30, the .272 career hitter could be expendable if he fails to produce.
The Tigers had high hopes for 2011. Their two young outfielders, Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch, each have a year of experience under their belts, and Miguel Cabrera has established himself as one of the top players in the league.
If they don't start climbing the AL Central standings soon, they could be looking for another infielder.
Just about everyone on the A's is having a poor April. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff (.222 AVG, .605 OPS), first baseman Daric Barton (.205 AVG, .639 OPS) and outfielders Josh Willingham (.234 AVG, .716 OPS) and David DeJesus (.232 AVG, .560 OPS) are all under-performing thus far for an Athletics team that has its sights on the AL West division crown.
Oakland's young staff will keep the team in contention, but Mark DeRosa could provide some insurance for Billy Beane. Manager Bob Green could plug in DeRosa at any of the aforementioned positions should the opening-day starters continue to falter.
To no one's surprise, Scott Rolen landed himself on the DL earlier this week. Good riddance: he was hitting .217 in 60 ABs before the injury sidelined him.
Miguel Cairo, the 36-year-old journeyman, is his current replacement. While .283 is not a bad average, one extra base hit and no stolen bases is not going to do it at the hot corner for the Reds if they hope to defend their NL Central title.
Add to that the early season inconsistency of left fielder Jonny Gomes (six HR and five SB, but hitting only .200), and Mark DeRosa could be the security blanket the Reds need to reach the playoffs again in 2011.
The defending AL Central Champs are currently sitting in last place with a 9-14 record. Their starting third baseman, Danny Valencia, is hitting .220 with just three extra base hits in 82 ABs this season.
At second base, they employ a hapless committee of Luke Hughes (.270 avg, .568 OPS) and Matt Tolbert (.189 avg, .486 OPS).
Add to that the Twins are 29th in the majors in runs scored, and you can bet the team will be making moves to improve their offense.
The kicker is that Valencia, Hughes and Tolbert are all 26 or older. It would not be hard to convince Minnesota to cut ties with these at best mediocre players in favor of a solid, proven veteran.
Granted, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Twins offseason second base import from Japan, is on the DL with a broken leg. However, he is not due to return until late May at the earliest.
Even if Nishioka returns from injury tomorrow, the Twins have already seen they lack infield depth. Mark DeRosa could step in and be a regular third baseman, or just a utility infielder to help the Twins reach the playoffs again in 2011.
The Fish have already expressed interest in DeRosa, and for good reason. Their current third baseman, Donnie Murphy, is hitting .105 this year, and the names Wes Helmes, Emilio Bonifacio and Greg Dobbs off the bench hardly strike fear into opponents' hearts.
Their top third base prospect, Matt Dominguez, recently hit the DL. Even though he failed to make the team out of spring training, the Marlins were hoping he could play his way into the job by midseason.
Boston Red Sox
As always, the Red Sox sport a strong starting lineup, but lack depth.
Their four bench players currently are catcher Jarod Saltalamacchia, SS Marco Scutaro and OF Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald.
Jed Lowrie's recent surge has brought Marco Scutaro trade rumblings to the forefront. Should Scutaro be dealt, the Red Sox would want a replacement infielder. DeRosa, who can play all infield positions, would be a natural fit.
In addition, the Giants could be a team in the market for Marco Scutaro, given the team's current shortstop woes. If no team is willing to give up prospects for Scutaro, look for the Giants to be in the mix for the veteran shortstop.
San Francisco will need to trade one of their veteran outfielders, whether it be DeRosa, Schieholtz, Rowand or Burrell. Since DeRosa has received almost no playing time even when healthy, he clearly does not fit into the current Giants puzzle.
When you also consider that his versatility gives him more trade value, it's not hard to imagine Mark DeRosa wearing another uniform as shortly as next month.