(Author's Note: Yeah, I know DeRosa just landed on the disabled list. Apparently the area around his wrist injury from last year is inflamed, so he's going to be there for a couple weeks. This obviously pushes back the timeliness of this article a bit, but he's a guy worth keeping an eye on in a couple weeks.)
This isn't a major name, so you probably won't think of this as a major piece. But when you really think about it, sometimes it's the smaller guys that get dealt during the season that end up really having an impact when things matter. I mean, sure, we're all going to remember how CC Sabathia carried Milwaukee to the playoffs in 2008 and Cliff Lee dominated the playoffs after coming to Philadelphia in 2009. But it's usually the smaller names that end up changing everything, like Chicago's addition of Geoff Blum for the 2005 playoffs or San Francisco's acquisition of NLCS MVP Cody Ross last summer.
So that brings me to one Mark DeRosa. The 35-year-old DeRosa was supposed to be a key cog in San Francisco's lineup last season, but injuries opened up his spot for Pat Burrell and Ross, and, well, you all kind of know what happened from there. Burrell and Ross are still around now, and that's left DeRosa to fight for playing time off the bench with the likes of Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz.
The problem is that he's probably too good, and too expensive, to wither away on the bench. It's not that DeRosa should necessarily be starting for the Giants; he's blocked on both outfield corners by Ross and Burrell, he's blocked at second by Freddy Sanchez, he's blocked at first by Aubrey Huff, and he's blocked at third base by Pablo Sandoval. And frankly, I don't think I'd prefer to have DeRosa in one of those spots.
But DeRosa is making $6 million this season in salary, and he's only gotten 20 plate appearances in San Francisco's first 22 games. He's made the most of those appearances, with a .400 OBP on the year, but he projected to be a roughly league-average bat coming into the season anyways. There are numerous contenders out there that could use a regular third baseman or corner outfielder, and while DeRosa isn't incredible, his salary isn't reasonable and the Giants shouldn't be able to command much in terms of prospects. Solid defense and a league-average bat would constitute a legitimate upgrade at third base or left field for a lot of teams that fancy themselves as contenders. Toss in his impressive versatility, and he seems like precisely the kind of guy that a lot of teams would love to acquire for a run at the playoffs.
We've already heard that the Marlins are considering making a run at DeRosa to make him their starting third baseman, and that's a pretty good example of the kind of team that could be interested in DeRosa. They can presumably afford most of his reasonable salary, they have a clear need at the position, they appear to be positioning themselves as contenders, and they don't have the kind of elite prospects that could command a star player. And even though DeRosa isn't that kind of impact talent, upgrading to DeRosa from the Donnie Murphy-Greg Dobbs-Wes Helms-Emilio Bonifacio fun zone would be substantial.