Did I call it or did I call it? Sometimes the media is so damn predictable.
Talking to Cubs fans about Mark DeRosa is like talking to your best friend about his ex-girlfriend who recently dumped him. But instead of going out and hearing, "I remember when Lisa and I used to go here, we used to order..." you hear something to the extent of, "Waaah! DeRo should have never left!" before said fan curls up in the fetal position and continues to cry the night away.
I really didn't have to write this, but I thought it would be a good start to help you guys get over your romance with DeRosa. Here are seven things no one has the heart or guts to tell you about this whole ordeal.
1. .230/.298/.403/.701. Look at these numbers and tell me you want to give a multi-year deal to someone with these slash stats. C'mon, I dare ya. If the name "Mark DeRosa" was not attached to these numbers, there would not be a Cubs fan in America that would want to bring those kinds of numbers and put him at second base, right field, or anywhere on the field on a daily basis.
2. Jeff Baker > Mark DeRosa. There, I said it. This one's gonna start a shitstorm, but it's OK, I've got my umbrella. As mentioned above, DeRosa has posted a .230/.298/.403/.701 line in 57 games since joining the Cardinals. In his 56 games with the Cubs Baker has posted a .327/.382/.464/.846 line. Baker has clearly outperformed DeRosa in about the same number of games. For what it's worth, DeRosa made $5.5 million in 2009 while Baker only made $415,000. Less money, more production, at a younger age.
3. DeRosa does not deserve a long-term deal, but will be looking for one anyway. Speaking of money, the biggest complaint from Cubs fans is that the team needs to dump some of its older players who have a lot of money and a lot of years left on their deals. Signing DeRosa would absolutely defeat that purpose. He will likely be seeking a multi-million dollar, multi-year deal. There is no way I can defend the signing of a 35-year-old utility guy whose numbers will go down before they go up again.
4. Trading Milton Bradley will be much more difficult than you think. This is Major League Baseball, not MLB The Show. Jim Hendry won't be dealing with artificial intelligence and computer simulation and that's what will make this deal hard. Hendry will need to find a taker that is willing to take on a big ego and a big contract. $20 million over two years for a corner outfielder/designated hitter with a .884 OPS over the last four seasons is only hard because Bradley has burned more bridges than he's built. Teams are very aware of this situation and are asking themselves why would the Cubs want to trade a player with a career OPS of .812.
5. Cool, so what about replacing Bradley's production? Alright, the Cubs have brought back Mark DeRosa, are you happy? Assuming he reverts to 2008 form and plays second base everyday, the Cubs still have a gaping hole in right field. Unfortunatley, I'm not sure any team will agree to the new ground rules of right field being out like it was when we were Little Leaguers.
6. A Jake Fox/Micah Hoffpauir platoon is not the answer. Take note that Fox has started only four of the Cubs' 11 games in September. As for Hoffpauir, well, his production has dipped since his torrid start. The "Hoff" owns a .175/.234/.356/.590 since May 1. Fox should be the Cubs' No. 1 option off the bench, and Hoffpauir should start preparing that speech for his eventual induction into the Minor League Hall of Fame/
7. What about the Cubs' real problems. If the Cubs want to bring back DeRosa, that's on them. But before they do so, they should prioritize what they need. The team's needs are as follows:
- On-base percentage
- Bullpen help
- Power-hitting outfielder
With guys like Kevin Gregg, Aaron Heilman and Neal Cotts gone, the Cubs need to re-load their bullpen. Carlos Marmol is the player with the least number of concerns -- and that's saying a lot considering his wildness in 2009. John Grabow's return would help, but concerns still surround the rest of the pen. Angel Guzman's recurring arm troubles, Jeff Samardzija's inability to locate the plate and Esmailin Caridad's lack of experience make the bullpen puzzle look blurrier than the road after a few drinks with Tony La Russa.
Then there's the annual what do we do with this lefty swingman routine. Good news for Lou Piniella is that he has two to choose from with Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny looking to pitch themselves onto the 25-man roster.
Finally, finding the elusive power-hitting corner outfielder might be the Cubs' biggest offseason challenge. Matt Holliday and Jason Bay are answers, but neither play right field and both will require lengthy and expensive contracts. Bobby Abreu has only one more home run than Bradley, but has the RBIs, stolen bases, extra-base hits, OBP, OPS and everything else Bradley does not have. There is an argument for the Cubs to sign Abreu, and we'll get to that Wednesday when the Cubs' free agent Target Practice feature premiers.
However, Abreu will be 36 when next season starts and you've got to wonder at what point Abreu's age will start to catch up with him. It would be a shame if the Cubs committed more money and more years to a team that will resemble the San Francisco Giants of the early-to-mid 2000s.
In the end, Mark DeRosa plays for the Cardinals ... and the Cardinals want to offer him an extension. And if they feel like giving a guy who makes fans pine for the return of a healthy Troy Glaus an extension, it's fine by me.
It's not like DeRo The Hero is Ryne Sandberg or anything.