Greetings. Thanks to Paul for hooking me up to write for/with/other prepositions The Phrontiersman. I hope to bring a little more reasoned approach to the site to balance Paul’s vitriolic prose and increasingly disappointed tone.
Since Paul evidently has forgotten about the site for the past three weeks, let me fill you in. Since June 6, the Phillies have gone 7-12, forgotten how to pitch late in games, sent Lidge to the DL, brought him back up, sent Ibanez to the DL, failed to bring him back up, inexplicably started playing Paul Bako at all, benched Jimmy Rollins (my favorite player in spite of his tragically low OBP–hang in there, J-Roll!) and seen their lead in the NL East shrink to half a game by Friday night before taking the last two from Toronto.
And in that time, Paul has been insufferable. I haven’t heard anyone complain this much about anything since I stopped watching Keith Olbermann. But now that J.A. Happ pitched a complete-game shutout Saturday (don’t get too excited, even Mike Grace did it twice in his career) and the offense has gotten rolling again, maybe we can all calm down and start to concentrate on the fact that the Phillies are still in first place after a 5-12 stretch, without their second-best starting pitcher, two of their four best position players and with Brad Lidge sporting an ERA that, in inches, would be longer than my penis. For the second year in a row.
But the main reason I come to speak to you today is really only tangentially related to the Phillies. This is Mark DeRosa. Here are some interesting facts about him: He went to Penn. If there were two of him, he’d be a particularly interesting 19th-century Argentinean dictator. Last year, for the Cubs, he played every position except for catcher, pitcher and center field (in fact, in his career, he’s played more than 200 games at the corner outfield positions, plus significant time at every infield position–why can’t he play center field?). Oh, and he was traded to the Cardinals last week.
DeRosa has, inexplicably, developed quite a following of late for no other reason that I can think of other than he plays six positions. He got onto Team USA for the World Baseball Classic for that reason. This is a useful skill, being able to play multiple positions. DeRosa can turn a position where you’re getting nothing offensively (I’m looking at YOU, Joe Thurston!) and give you something. Which is a plus for the Cardinals.
Melky Cabrera’s OPS is .786 so far this season. Brendan Ryan’s is .757. This is significant because Cabrera has the 10th-highest OPS on the Yankees and Ryan has the second-highest OPS on the Cardinals. And no one outside of Yadier Molina is playing good enough defense to warrant hitting that little.
DeRosa, in 314 plate appearances with Cleveland, knocked out a respectable .799 OPS. Solid, major-league quality stuff. Good for the new second-place spot on the Cards. Comparable, according to Baseball-Reference.com, to Mike Lamb, Sean Berry and Mark Ellis. Not good enough to protect Albert Pujols.
By the way, no one is giving Pujols enough credit for the season he’s having. His OPS+ is 207. No one outside of Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds has hit that well, relative to the league, since Willie McCovey in 1969. And anyone who mentions the words “small sample size” can sod off, because we’re about halfway through the season. I think we can start drawing some conclusions about the offensive quality of a player whose numbers by the last week in June (28 HR, 59 runs, 74 RBI in the aforementioned lineup and twice as many walks as strikeouts) wouldn’t be half-bad for an entire year.
This brings me to my point. There’s been some talk about trading for a starting pitcher to fill the void for Brett Myers. I’m all for that. But the Phillies would be stupid to give up any of their young players (Bastardo, Happ, Mayberry, Marson or, God forbid, Drabek and Carrasco) for anything less than a Jake Peavy-type pitcher.
Trading for an average hitter is okay when he’s replacing a bad hitter. But selling the farm for a mediocre pitcher isn’t worth it for the Phillies. They have at least three (Happ, Moyer and Blanton) of those already. Particularly when that mediocre pitcher (mark my words, it will be Jason Marquis) costs what mediocre pitchers do nowadays: $10 million a year and two of your top three minor league prospects.