Mark DeRosa Joins the Cardinals

When I heard last night that the Cardinals had acquired Mark DeRosa for Chris Perez and a player to be named later, I went through what I like to call a three part response. 

Part one: "Hey, we got DeRosa! Sweet! Good job getting a deal done, Mo. Glad to see them upgrade the team." 

Part two: "Chris Perez? Man, that sucks. Damn. I really like Perez. Seems like an awful lot to give up for a three month rental of Mark DeRosa. Well, still cool they got him, but I hate losing Perez." 

Part three: "Wait, did they just say Perez and a player to be named later? Son of a bitch, that's way too much! Come on! You've got to be kidding me!" 

Then, upon further reflection, I added parts four and five to my initial reaction, propelling me from excited straight into sour territory. 

Part four: "Come to think of it, this would probably be a much better deal if I thought DeRosa was going to play second base, and Skip Schumaker was going to be shipped out as part of another deal or something. Unfortunately, I'm sure the Scrapmaker love fest and the Great Second Base Experiment will continue, and DeRosa will just slot in at third." 

Part five: "Then again, Perez seemed to be getting worse to me the longer he was here. All this talk about getting him under control, his velocity is down, and he's still walking just as many. Maybe he just wasn't working out under Dave Duncan. God, I am so tired of having to look at every player through the filter of, 'how will he work with Duncan/ La Russa?' "

All that took about seven minutes total, and reflects pretty much the way I feel about most of the moves the Cardinals make these days: I like certain things about it, but the subtext largely pisses me off. 

That being said, I am happy to see DeRosa in a Cardinal uniform, and I think he should offer a nice upgrade, especially against left-handed pitching, at whatever position Tony La Russa chooses to play him. However, I stand by parts two and three of my response: Perez + a PTBNL is way too much to give up for three months of Mark DeRosa. Personally, I would have much preferred to see Jason Motte included here, but really think someone like Kyle McClellan would have been a much fairer price. Of course, no way McClellan goes anywhere; he's one of the coaching staff's guys. 

On the other hand, John Mozeliak did manage to deal from a surplus, so that's a point in his favor. Unfortunately, he still traded away six cost-controlled years- okay, five more now- of an incredibly talented young pitcher for three months of a 34 year old utility player. Does DeRosa make the Cardinals better right now? Yes, I believe he does. Does he make the Cardinals enough better to justify losing six years of cheap Chris Perez? Honestly, no, I don't think so. 

Then again, there is a silver lining to all of this: this is going to piss off Cubs fans, big time. The Cubs, of course, traded DeRosa to the Indians before the season began, at least partially to make room for Milton Bradley's salary. Not working out so well to this point for the Northsiders. 

As for Perez himself and his uneven performance, I wasn't a fan of the way he was being handled anyway. Last year, Brent Strom, the Cardinals' mechanics guru, tried to get Perez to lengthen his stride, get better momentum going, and move back toward the mechanics he had employed in college. Then this year, in spring training, we heard that Dave Duncan was trying to get Perez more upright and throw from a higher arm angle, in order to get on top of the ball and stay more under control. Maybe I'm misreading the whole thing, but it seems once again that the Cards' staff just can't all get on the same page. Personally, I'm not all that sorry to see Perez get away from Dave Duncan's low strike hegemony and La Russa's once-a-week-whether-he-needs-it-or-not usage pattern. Oh, well. 

So in the end, I think the Cardinals did an outstanding job of identifying a need, then filling it. Unfortunately, I don't think they did nearly as good a job of getting proper value back for a very attractive commodity. And if the PTBNL is anything significant, as seems to be suggested by Mark Shapiro, the Cleveland GM, then I'll be first in line to throw fruit at Mo's house. (Interestingly enough, the Indian fans responding to the trade seem to hate it, leading me to believe they don't entirely understand the phrase, "cost-controlled.") 

Mitigating the possible cost is DeRosa's arbitration status, which should make him a Type B, meaning the Cardinals could net a supplemental pick if they offer him arbitration. Perez himself was a supplemental pick, so that could very well bring things more in line. Then again, the Cards could have gotten the same sort of pick if they had offered arbitration to Braden Looper in the offseason, but they were too afraid he would accept and they would be stuck with him, so there's really no guarantee they make the offer in the first place. 

So good luck, Chris. I still think you're going to be a hell of a pitcher, and we're probably all going to be bitching about this deal in a couple of years. 

And welcome, Mark. I really am glad to have you here, and promise not to bring up just how much we gave up to get you. 
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