Versatile DeRosa Acquired From Cubs
Mark DeRosa ... coming to Cleveland.
Mark DeRosa ... coming to Cleveland.
Indians Ink
Posted Dec 31, 2008


The Indians acquired veteran infielder Mark DeRosa from the Chicago Cubs on the final day of 2008. It is a trade that could pay immediate dividends for Cleveland in 2009. If the three pitching prospects general manager Mark Shapiro dealt away -- right-handers Jeff Stevens and Chris Archer along with lefty John Gaub -- fulfill their potential, the Cubs and their fans will be happy in the future.

β€œThe acquisition of Mark DeRosa gives our club an experienced, high character infielder who complements our team perfectly with his professional, right-handed bat and defensive versatility,” said Shapiro

SHAPIRO: Listen to Audio

DeRosa is a Casey Blake type player and his versatility will give manager Eric Wedge the opportunity to mix and match infielders and outfielders on a daily basis.

DeRosa's plate approach shouldn't be quite as maddening to Indians fans who didn't like Blake. DeRosa doesn't have as much power, though maintains his aggressiveness when down in the count and with men on base -- two areas where Blake didn't always shine during his overall good tenure in Cleveland.

DeRosa, 33, had a career season with the Cubs in 2008, hitting .285 (144-for-505) with 30 doubles, 21 homers and 87 RBI in 149 games. He established career highs in homers, RBI, on-base percentage (.376), walks (69) and runs (103).

He finished tied for 11th in the National League in runs and 16th in on-base percentage.

The right-hander hit .310 (45-for-145) off left-handed pitching and .322 (46-for-143) overall with runners in scoring position, which ranked sixth in the NL. He also became the second Cub since 1956 to record an extra-base hit in eight consecutive games, homering in four straight games during the streak in late August.

The versatile DeRosa appeared in at least 20 games at four positions and played six spots total in 2008. He appeared in 95 games at second base, 38 in right field, 27 in left field, 22 at third base and saw action in one game apiece at first base and shortstop.

The veteran probably will be used at third base, where Andy Marte has not developed as hoped. When Blake, an impending free agent, was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July, the position was given to Marte on a semi-regular basis. Marte failed to capitalize on the opportunity, hitting .221 with three homers and 17 RBI in 135 at-bats. In four trials in the majors, Marte has hit only .211 with nine homers and 52 RBI in 513 at-bats.

DeRosa could play second base, however, with Asdrubal Cabrera moving over to shortstop and Jhonny Peralta switching from short to third. Utility man Jamey Carroll enters the mix, too.

Depending on who is going well, that day's opposing pitcher, and other roster scenarios, Wedge will have plenty of options when filling out his lineup card.

DeRosa has an 11-year career on-base percentage of .348 with a .279 average, 151 doubles, 10 triples, 69 home runs and 352 RBI in 893 games with Atlanta, Texas and the Cubs.

He was drafted in the seventh round in 1996 by Atlanta out of the University of Pennsylvania, where he played baseball and also was the Quakers' starting quarterback from 1993-95.

2008 & MLB CAREER

Team

G

AB

H

AVG

HR

RBI

SB

BB

SO

Cubs

149

505

144

.285

21

87

6

69

106

MLB Totals

893

2650

740

.279

69

352

18

252

485

The Indians have made two key moves during the off-season and in each instance got a player who was key to the Cubs winning the NL Central in 2008. Two weeks ago, they signed ace closer Kerry Wood to a two-year contract as a free agent.

The three pitchers going to Chicago were all going to be ranked in the top 50 of the Indians Ink Magazine annual list of top 100 prospects in the Cleveland farm system. The issue is days away from going to print and had Stevens ranked No. 14, Gaub at No. 30 and Archer at No. 43.

Not now, though here is what the magazine was going to project on each pitcher:

No. 14
Jeff Stevens
The Jeff Stevens File
Born:
Sept. 5, 1983 in Berkeley, CA
Position: Relief Pitcher
B/T: R/R HT/WT: 6-1/200
Acquired: In April 2006 trade with Reds for INF Brandon Phillips.
Strengths: Has embraced relief role and handled it well. Down-and-away 96 mph four-seam fastball is his bread-and-butter pitch. Averages better than a strikeout per inning (58 IP, 81 K in ’08) and has nearly a 4:1 ratio in strikeouts to walks. Breaking ball has nice drop and he also throws a cutter. Has become very aggressive.
Weaknesses: Has room for improvement with all of his pitches. Needs more experience as a reliever after having been a starter much of his career.
2009 Projection: Will likely be in bullpen at Columbus, but has an outside shot to stick with Tribe. He has a better chance to be an in-season call-up.

No. 30
John Gaub
The John Gaub File
Born:
April 28, 1985 in St. Paul, MN
Position: Relief Pitcher
B/T: R/L HT/WT: 6-2/200
Acquired: 21st-round draft pick in 2006 from Minnesota.
Strengths: Has a plus fastball that tops out at 95 but more often than not is in 90-94 range, which is excellent for a southpaw. Struck out 100 and allowed only 44 hits in 64 innings with Lake County in ’08. Allowed just three home runs.
Weaknesses: Questionable secondary pitches. Control is also an issue. Walked 32 (one every two innings).
2009 Projection: Will likely start season in bullpen at Kinston.

No. 43
Christopher Archer
The Chistopher Archer File
Born:
Sept. 26, 1988 in Raleigh, NC
Position: Starting Pitcher
B/T: R/R HT/WT: 6-2/165
Acquired: Fifth-round draft pick in 2006 from Clayton (NC) HS.
Strengths: His best pitch is a sharp slider that has good bite. He throws it about 80 mph, which is about 10-12 mph slower than his fastball. Has adapted quickly to pro ball. Will likely mature physically which could add a couple of mph to his fastball. Played at Lake County at age 19.
Weaknesses: Still working on his changeup. Needs to be better at repeating his delivery. Control has been a huge issue. Walked 84 in just 115 1/3 innings.
2009 Projection: Could be in starting rotation at Kinston, but might open season again at Lake County.


Related Stories
'Shocked' DeRosa Ready To Join Tribe
 -by IndiansInk.net  Jan 2, 2009
Fire Wedge? That's The Wrong Answer
 -by IndiansInk.net  May 10, 2009
Cardinals Acquire Mark DeRosa from Cleveland
 -by TheCardinalNation.com  Jun 27, 2009

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