Giants, DeRosa Reach Agreement
If you've been following us here over the last couple weeks, you know my stance on DeRosa, but since it looks like he really is going to be a Giant, it's time to face reality. Sabean has had his eye on this guy over the last few trade deadlines, so once DeRosa dropped his demand from a 3 year deal to 2, I began to get the feeling that Sabean would grab him. I've pointed out how DeRosa's horrible second half of 2009 shows signs of decline, and outside of his last two seasons, he really hasn't ever been considered a power. He has been a late bloomer, as he didn't get an everyday job until 2006 when he was 31 years old, and in his first two seasons as a starter, he averaged just 11 home runs and 73 RBI. Even though he's upped his power the last two years (44 total hr '08-'09), I don't think he's going to bring the power that the Giants are hoping for. I compare him a lot to Aaron Rowand, as his power numbers before coming to the Giants were due largely in-part to lineups they were in and/or the home ballpark in which they played at. Rowand put up big numbers playing in a stacked Philly lineup and playing his home games at Citizens Bank Ballpark, one of the most hitter friendly yards in the league. DeRosa played the last 2 seasons in Chicago, Cleveland and St. Louis, all of which are considered hitters ballparks. Not saying that DeRosa's power will be completely zapped by playing at AT&T Park, but I would expect closer to 12-15 homers than the 22 he's averaged over the last 2 seasons. He's in his mid-30's and his second half of 2009 was truly hideous. I really hope I'm wrong, but I see this signing falling right into the same category as the Rowand/Renteria deals.
Now, I can't just point out the negatives in DeRosa's game, because he's not a waste of a roster spot and will definitely contribute to the team. I just would have rather seen someone else come in here to play third base/first base. Speaking of which, the one scenario that I'd like to see now that DeRosa is on the verge of signing, is possibly sticking him in left field, leaving one of the corner infield spots still open to add a guy like Adam LaRoche. Sabean's still likely searching for another bat, and if he can get an infielder like LaRoche, on the cheap later on in January, then DeRosa at least has the flexibility to play the outfield. I haven't seen enough of DeRosa in left to judge his defensive abilities there, but he's handled the outfield well in the few games I've seen of him out there.
As far as where he'll hit in the order, I'd like to see him hit lower, rather than higher. He's done his best work hitting in the 6 hole over the last couple of years and that would be an ideal spot for him. However, in this Giants lineup, it looks like he'll be hitting fifth right behind Pablo Sandoval. Also, DeRosa impending deal won't actually handicap the Giants like Rowand's deal, or even like Renteria's has. If DeRosa becomes a utility guy in his second year with the Giants, then it won't be such a horrible thing, he could provide pop off the bench and can play almost anywhere on the diamond.