Name: Mark DeRosa
Position: First, Second, and Third Base, Left Field, DH
|162 Game Avg.||162||534||474||70||127||13||64||47||92||.268||.340||.412||.751||95|
Signed to a one-year, $750,000 deal on January 22, 2013. The deal included a one-year team option for an additional $750,000.
When the Blue Jays inked Mark DeRosa to a contract on January 22nd, Alex Anthopoulos saw it as a low risk, high reward sort of transaction. The goal was to put a high-character player in the Toronto clubhouse and any added production from the 38-year-old utility-man would be icing on the cake. Of course, all of that hinged on DeRosa staying healthy throughout the 2013 season, something the New Jersey native has struggled with in years past.
As luck would have it, the gods of health smiled on Mark DeRosa in 2013. Outside of a back injury sidelining him for a few Spring Training games in March and a stiff neck making him unavailable for a single contest in June, DeRosa managed to stay healthy for the remainder of the season and ended up playing a solid role for the club.
With injuries all around the infield, and a fair share of inadeqacy from the likes of Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis, DeRosa saw his fair share of playing time, logging 29 games at second base, 25 games at third base, 17 first base, 14 at DH, and 1 inning in left field. In 236 plate appearances, DeRosa posted a .235 average with 7 home runs, 36 RBI, 12 doubles, and a .733 OPS, his highest in five seasons.
More importantly, the Blue Jays got exactly what they wanted in regards to a clubhouse leader, as DeRosa was seen as a strong voice and solid teammate for a Blue Jays team that was often seen as lacking one.
The Blue Jays may have tipped their hand a bit when they placed DeRosa on waivers in August, and then promptly pulled him back when he was claimed. With a very reasonable $750,000 team option, the Blue Jays will likely exercise their chance to bring DeRosa back in 2014. Of course, the real mystery will be whether the player himself, who turn 39 in February, decides to return for another season or ride off into the sunset.
If he does return, it is fairly reasonable for the Blue Jays to use him again in a limited capacity, and if he can stay healthy, for DeRosa to put up a similar season to his 2013 campaign. The 2009 DeRosa is long gone, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t put together another complementary season as the right-handed hitter in a platoon or pinch-hitting role.
If DeRosa chooses to retire, which I personally doubt he will, it would be easy to see him transitioning into a coaching role and working with younger players. The Blue Jays will then look to fill that role through the free agent market, hoping to get just as lucky with this year’s crop of aging veteran hitters.