I've seen several folks on Twitter mention Mark DeRosa as a possible free agent target this offseason. DeRosa, of course, was a utility player for the Rangers in 2005-06, leaving after the season to sign with the Chicago Cubs to be their second baseman.
He spent the 2007 and 2008 season with the Cubs, split 2009 between the Cards and the Indians, and then was in San Francisco for 2010 and 2011.
Rangers fans have fond memories of him as a guy who exceeded expectations while playing multiple positions and being a great clubhouse guy in Texas.
The problem is, though, it doesn't look like he can play anymore.
First of all, he's not a utility infielder anymore. The main thing the Rangers need from their utility infielder is to be able to play shortstop, since Ron Washington has shown a preference for using Michael Young at second base or third base when Ian Kinsler or Adrian Beltre need a day off.
DeRosa will be 37 years old next season, which is old for someone to be playing shortstop...but that notwithstanding, DeRosa doesn't play shortstop anymore. He's put in two innings at the position since leaving Texas after the 2006 season. And he doesn't play much second base anymore, either...since leaving the Cubs, he's logged 2 innings at second base in 2009, 51 innings in 2010, and 2 1/3 innings in 2011.
So if you get DeRosa, you're getting him to be a four-corner utility man and a bench bat.
Here's the problem with that, though...DeRosa's line from 2011:
|2011 - Mark DeRosa||47||86||9||24||2||0||0||12||8||18||1||1||.279||.351||.302|
Just a 653 OPS, and just a .302 slugging. The .351 OBP is good, if it is sustainable...but as Grant Brisbee pointed out on Twitter, that's a .352 BABIP that DeRosa put up to get to a .279 batting average with no power.
And when I say no power, I mean no power...check out his hit chart from 2011 (again courtesy of Brisbee).
Jason Tyner looks at that chart and says, damn, he's got no power.
And lest you think this is a fluke, DeRosa hit .194/.279/.258 in 2010.
Now, he's had limited playing time the past two seasons because of wrist injuries that have sidelined him, but that's a bug, not a feature. A 37 year old coming off of a debilitating injury isn't someone a team with World Series aspirations should be betting on to bounce back, particularly when you're talking about someone who was a utilityman to begin with.
Grant's article argues for DeRosa being a versatile righthanded bench bat, and I don't disagree that the Rangers need one of those. But DeRosa, even if he gets healthy -- which is a huge question in and of itself -- is exceptionally unlikely to hit enough to have any use to the Rangers in 2012.