The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Mark DeRosa from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for relief pitcher Chris Perez and a player to be named later.
It’s hard to understand why DeRosa continues to get traded, except for the fact that the Indians, 11 games behind Detroit already, have given up for the 2009 season. DeRosa becomes a free agent at the end of this season. DeRosa was hitting .270 on the season with 13 homeruns and 50 RBI.
DeRosa’s advantage has always been his versatility which is also a nice advantage in fantasy baseball leagues. DeRosa has already played first base, third base, and left field and right field for the Indians. He’s expected to take over at third for the Cardinals, displacing Khalil Greene, until Troy Glaus returns. Glaus, however, is recovering from shoulder surgery and it’s possible that he may not play at all this year. In his first start today, DeRosa received a warm ovation from the Cardinals’ fans as he made his debut in left field.
“I think the nice thing about him is he can play third, he can play the outfield and he can play second base,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “So he gives us a lot of flexibility. The big thing for us is the right-handed bat in our lineup. The balance of that will be a nice injection to our club.”
DeRosa is in the final year of a three-year deal that pays him a guaranteed $5.5 million in 2009. He has raked left-handed pitching this year, posting a line of .339/.409/.661 against lefties. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have struggled against southaws and rank second-to-last in the Major Leagues in batting average against lefties.
Chris Perez was seen as a potential closer this year if Ryan Franklin folded, but Franklin has been solid and never opened the door for Perez. Hence, Perez was definitely expendable. Perez had one save on the year in 23 innings of work.
The Indians get a young pitcher with considerable upside as Perez is only 23-years-old. Perez will likely take over the setup role for Indians’ closer Kerry Wood.
By switching leagues, DeRosa might be available in your fantasy baseball league on this week’s waiver wire. DeRosa is definitely a keeper in medium and large sized leagues and the consensus here is that Glaus is going to have a difficult time getting back in the lineup, even if he does return this year.
DeRosa has had a big couple of days. Yesterday, DeRosa was named second team utility player in Baseball’s Hottest (Looking) Players sponsored by Fantasy Baseball Dugout. We attempted to get a comment from DeRosa, but calls to FBD were not returned.
As for Chris Perez, his role as a setup man does not warrant a pick up in most fantasy baseball leagues. Keep an eye on him and if Wood fails later in the year, Perez might be the young man the Indians turn to for saves.