Archive for the ‘Mark DeRosa’ Category

DeRosa DeRetires!


Of course something like this would happen while I’m out grabbing a bite, but… uh… this is interesting: according to a team release from the Jays, Mark DeRosa has decided to retire.

And here it sounded to me two weeks ago as though he was pretty certain he wasn’t ready to hang it up, after finally feeling that his wrist was back to where it needed to be in order for him to actually compete, which hadn’t been the case for the three years previous. I suppose 2013 will ultimately prove to have been a nice swansong for him, but it’s a little strange, seeing as he’d been spoken about as the possible platoon partner at DH for Adam Lind, while serving as a backup infielder.

He was also, as we’ve frequently heard, a supposed clubhouse leader and mentor for Brett Lawrie, who the Jays, by exercising his $750K option, demonstrated that they wanted back.

Ahhh, but about that option. In his piece on the sudden retirement, John Lott of the National Post writes:

Even though he agreed to the club option when he signed his Toronto contract, in the end he decided he was unwilling to play again for that salary – the same amount he was paid in 2013.

It’s an interesting explanation– one that, unfortunately, makes you wonder if there’s more to the story– because DeRosa has a young family, and could easily have used that as his reason for not playing.

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“Didn’t bode well for the Toronto Blue Jays when I had to hit cleanup. I’ve never hit cleanup in my career, but– funny story– I actually got a text from about five or ten past players who were like, ‘DeRo, you didn’t hit cleanup when you could actually hit, now you’re hitting cleanup in the AL East!?!’ ”

DeRo, of course, is Mark DeRosa, speaking there of his experience on Canada Day as he joined Mike Wilner last night on his Blue Jay-A-Day Pre-Game Show on the Fan 590 (audio here*), and hoo boy, he was slightly candid during the whole appearance– and not just about his own career and what went wrong with the 2013 Jays, though he was that, too.

It was a hell of a performance; one that made Wilner’s praise clear, and his repeated assertions that DeRosa was the one member of the team reporters would run to for a good, thoughtful quote fully understood. But not only is the veteran– whose contract status for 2014 is still up in the air, though the Jays hold a cheap option on him and would be crazy not to exercise it– worth listening to for reporters and fans, but if this interview was any indication, he ought to have the ear of club higher-ups, as well.

That notion was at its most striking– and important– when he spoke about the difficulty he had in adjusting to the ugly Rogers Centre turf, and when he spoke about the comments from an anonymous Jays player about teammates not being with the club at the end of the season, which caused a stir earlier in the month– especially after Don Cherry waded in, bringing with him his tenuous grasp on the etymology of “grinder.”

On the turf issue, DeRosa was blunt. Asked whether he’d prefer an all dirt infield, like exists at Tropicana Field, DeRosa explained:

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There was an interesting conversation that took place between Pat Tabler and Buck Martinez (no, really!) in the top of the seventh inning of Sunday’s Jays loss at Fenway Park. It happened when Mark DeRosa was at the plate, and if you’ve read the title of this post, you probably have a pretty good idea of what it was about.

To wit:

Buck Martinez: Think DeRosa comes back?

Pat Tabler: Yes.

Buck: You didn’t hesitate. [Laughs]

Pat: [Laughs] I’ve talked to him. They have an option, and he said he thinks that they will exercise it. He’s played a long time, and he’s getting to that spot in his career when he wants to go out a winner, and wants to finish on a strong note. He thinks he’ll be playing next year.

The option on DeRosa’s contract is for $750K (with a $25K buyout), so the money is clearly not the issue as to whether he sticks around. Nor, in a vacuum, is his performance. DeRosa has been better than advertised, which… actually that’s not terribly impressive, seeing as he basically came advertised as some kind of spirit animal/glorified babysitter.

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