DeRosa fits in Cardinals’ puzzle

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Mark DeRosaBy Jake McCormick

The St. Louis Cardinals made the first major move in the 2009 NL Central Division race by trading for former Chicago Cub and fan favorite Mark DeRosa. Call it pay back for taking Jim Edmonds.

Mark DeRosa was the caulk of the 2008 Chicago Cubs. He could fill in at any position (except catcher) and put up career numbers in home runs (21) and RBIs (87). DeRosa became a fan favorite in Chicago because of his personality and ability to come through in the clutch when the rest of the team was floundering. After the Cubs mistakenly thought baseball playoffs were won by golf scoring, DeRosa was traded along with Kerry Wood to the Cleveland Indians so Chicago could add the left-handed Milton Bradley, who was coming off a career year.

Recipe for great television.

Recipe for great television.

Sidenote: There’s a Lewis Black stand up bit where he simply says “Dick Cheney,” pauses, then says that was all that was needed for the joke. I apply that same principle the Bradley, but I feel like he should have a reality show called Milton Bradley: It’s Complicated. He’s much more deserving than Denise Richards.

Chicago’s yearning for the days of DeRosa climaxed when he received a standing ovation during his first at-bat as an Indian at Wrigley Field last week. That makes the Cardinals’ trade for the utilityman all the more interesting.

There’s a good reason why the Cubs have seemingly regretted letting DeRosa go. He already understands the National League game and knows the NL Central especially well. His 0-for-9 start to his Cardinals’ career and wrist injury suffered during Tuesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants not withstanding, DeRosa was second on the Indians this season in

Career stats: 1.000 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1.000 OBP, 0 E

Career stats: 1.000 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1.000 OBP, 0 E

home runs (13) and RBIs (50), and should provide St. Louis with consistent defense at third base and nearly identical statistics to injured starter Troy Glaus. But at this point, I think the Cardinals would take Kyle’s cousin Kyle from South Park over Khalil Greene at third base. At least Kyle could make contact with the ball and had more home runs and RBIs in the show than Greene does on the season.

DeRosa’s strong clubhouse presence should have a positive impact on the bizarro structure of the Cardinals’ roster. St. Louis doesn’t look like the Cardinal teams from the past few years, where veterans like Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, and Braden Looper were favored over the team’s skeletal farm system. So far this season, the Cardinals have had 14 rookies on the roster, which leads the league, and eight of them have made their Major League debut. Having so many young players on a contending team, even one with the Terminator (Albert Pujols), can have adverse effects as the season wears on and fatigue starts setting in.

Come with Albert if you want to win

Come with Albert if you want to win

As the All Star Break draws closer, the NL Central continues to stay tightly packed together, with every team (yes, even the Pirates, who are firing players off the port bow) within six games of the top spot. Last year, the Brewers and Cubs made big time deals to upgrade their weaknesses while the Cardinals stood by what they had, which wasn’t enough to stay in serious contention by the end of the season. By trading for DeRosa and despite his current unknown wrist injury, the Cardinals sent the opposite message and are playing to win now. If he lives up to his billing, DeRosa will continue to make the Cubs regret getting rid of him for prospects. But he can’t be expected to step up for the entire team.

With the obvious exception of Pujols, St. Louis has had problems scoring runs. They have been shut out in three of the past 10 games and are 3-7 in that span. Adding DeRosa to Pujols bodyguard duty with Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel should give a needed boost to hitters that have been out of sync from slow starts after injuries. The Cardinals have the pitching and coaching to carrying them into contention late into the season, and if DeRosa stays healthy he could very well be the difference in October baseball in St. Louis.

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Comments

  1. David K. says

    Cubs are dumb… DeRo was in great in Chi… way to give him to the Cards…

  2. paulmbanks says

    I agree Cubs made a huge mistake on this one…he’s a former Penn QB..well educated and a seasoned decision maker

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