I’m not going to rage against the impending Mark DeRosa signing just because Mark DeRosa is old and likely to decline. It’s only a two-year deal, and DeRosa really has been an underpaid and productive player in recent years. If he falls off a cliff right away – that is, if he renterizes – it’s not a contract that’s going to handicap efforts to acquire free agents in 2010. As in, the difference between Matt Holliday and no Matt Holliday isn’t Edgar Renteria, and Renteria’s contract didn’t prohibit the Giants from signing Mark DeRosa, so that’s how I’ll look at the DeRosa contract. It’s a risk, but it isn’t a substantial commitment.
I’m not going to rage against the impending Mark DeRosa deal just because as the roster is currently constructed, DeRosa is essentially taking the lineup spot of Ryan Garko. It’s a shame that the Giants believed that Garko’s last 100 at-bats meant more than his previous 1,500, but DeRosa is a more valuable player if he manages to stave off a serious age-related decline. Even considering age, I’d pick DeRosa for the 2010 Giants if I were forced to choose. DeRosa’s ability to play third, second, and the outfield makes a big difference when compared to Garko’s ability to play first poorly.
I’m not going to rage against the impending Mark DeRosa deal just because the Giants are committing to marginal upgrades early in the offseason and deciding that Pablo Sandoval is a first baseman until the end of time. Because this move doesn’t mean any of that, really. The nice thing about DeRosa is that if a first baseman falls into the organization’s lap, Sandoval can stay at third and DeRosa can move to left field. If the market completely dries up for Adam LaRoche – like, 1/$5M dries up – the Giants can still make a move. If the Marlins panic at Dan Uggla’s arbitration award and decide to give him up for Merkin Valdez, the Giants can still get in on a deal like that. The DeRosa acquisition doesn’t finalize anything on its own.
I’m going to take fistfuls of rage, though, and condense them into a tiny little ball, and I’m going to hide that ball of rage somewhere in my intestines. And if Eugenio Velez is in the Opening Day lineup for any reason other than another player’s injury, that ball of rage is going to take over. That ball of rage will get regurgitated up, and it will melt onto the synapses in my brain, and I am not responsible for my actions after that. Will the ball of rage just make me sit in a corner and drool as I stare vacantly, or will it cause me to pick up a crowbar, go down to the mall, and get myself on the evening news? Don’t know yet. But if there are charges, they’ll be dropped.
Mark DeRosa is an upgrade. He’s likely to be an expensive upgrade, and he’s a risk to decline, but he’s better than any of the Giants’ in-house options to start at a corner infield position, and he can slide over to second in the event that Freddy Sanchez is injured. He can play left field in the event that the Giants realize that major league and minor league statistics, combined with ample scouting, all point to the inescapable conclusion that Eugenio Velez is not going to magically figure out the game of baseball at the age of 28.
If DeRosa is the sum of the offseason moves, though, it’s a pretty silly way to spend millions of dollars.
And there will be blood.
"There’s a whole ocean of marginal free agent upgrades out there, and nobody can get at it but me!"
"I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed, expect for maybe ten or twelve other teams in the National League. That’s why I think Velez should lead off."
"If you have a team of old, declining players, and I have a team of old, declining players, and I have a little bit of money to sign your old, declining players – there it is, that’s a little bit of money, you see? You watching? And my little bit of money reaches acroooooooooooss the free agent market, and it tempts your old, declining players…I…sign…your…old…declining players! I sign them up!"
I don’t hate this move on its own. I can actually concoct a few mock lineups that would actually make me like this move. With the starting pitching under contract, I'm not opposed to overpaying for decline risks like DeRosa if there's a chance it will help the lineup. Give it time, though. I’m sure I’ll hate this move for all the right reasons.