Should the Atlanta Braves Bring Back Mark DeRosa?

James HulkaAnalyst IMay 21, 2009

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 22: Mark DeRosa #7 of the United States doubled to deep left to score to runs in the eighth inning of the semifinal game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic Japan on March 22, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Everyone (especially the talking heads in New York) seems to be yapping about how every tradeable player is going to end up with the Mets or Yankees in about 15 minutes, including Mark DeRosa.

Not so fast.

With Omar Infante being lost for two months with a broken metacarpal bone in his left hand, the Braves have a major hole for a utility player who can play multiple positions in the infield and outfield, hit lefties, and produce in Atlanta.

Enter ex-Brave Mark DeRosa.

He was a favorite of Bobby Cox during his tenure with the Braves that ended after the 2004 season. He was tasked with being the everyday third basemen while Chipper Jones played left field.

It didn't work out as DeRosa didn't produce offensively; Chipper returned to third base, Charles Thomas and Eli Marrero played left field, and Mark DeRosa found himself in Arlington the following season after being non-tendered by the Braves.

Over the course of the last five years, DeRosa has gained a power stroke as evidenced by his 21 home runs last year with the Cubs. He's played about every position on the field, and considering the Braves essentially lost their backup third baseman, centerfielder, and shortstop when Infante went down, DeRosa would immediately fill that void in the Atlanta lineup—with some power as a right-handed bat.

The big difference is that the fans of the teams in New York think they can get a major league player in a trade they covet for their team, without giving up anything in return except a $20 bill, a rack of ash-wood bats, and a low-level minor leaguer with an ERA above 6.00 or a batting average below .150.

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I lived in New Jersey for a lot of my life, read the papers and listened to 660 WFAN to hear these ideas come up everyday. These ideas are crazy—to everyone except the Mets and Yankees fans.

Moving Mark DeRosa would require a pitching prospect heading to Cleveland. It won't be Kris Medlen or Tommy Hanson, but the Braves have enough pitching depth to send one minor league pitcher to Cleveland to fill a suddenly big void on their bench and in multiple spots in the lineup.

Don't get me wrong—I love the skills Martin Prado brings to the Braves, but he can't play the outfield in a pinch as well as DeRosa. Putting DeRosa in right, and moving Francoeur to center, is a better backup plan than putting Francoeur in center between Matt Diaz and Garret Anderson if Jordan Schafer has to come out of the game.

We'll see what happens—but I think Chipper Jones wouldn't mind seeing his old teammate back in Atlanta a couple spots behind him in the order. DeRosa's 6 HR and 26 RBI would be best on the Braves if suddenly inserted in the five-spot behind Chipper Jones and  Brian McCann.

It's too early to tell what will happen, but something will have to change with the team's best hitter out for two months if the Braves are to continue staying close to the NL East lead.

What GM Frank Wren will do remains to be seen.