By all accounts, Mark DeRosa’s a really smart guy. Not baseball player smart, either. He’s an Ivy Leaguer, extremely well spoken and by all accounts an incredible teammate.
As such, he came to the same conclusion many of us smart people come to (shut up!): he wanted to make the full-time move to the Bay Area. He said all the right things when he signed with the San Francisco Giants — he always wanted to play in San Francisco for the fans, he immediately got his own show on Razor and Mr. T, he even made a software commercial that blatantly panders to Bay Area residents, whose sense of superiority is only matched by our willingness to overpay for gourmet coffee.
Being a smart guy, DeRosa realized the opportunity in front of him. Even if you’ve been a vagabond Major Leaguer for a decade, if you do and say the right things while wearing the orange and black you can land a spot in the organization forever. And with Rich Aurilia heading off to Comcast to have his airtime taken away by Eric Byrnes, DeRosa had the chance to become the latest Bay Area favorite son with an East Coast accent.
And now that opportunity is gone. Not gone because his body failed him, but because DeRosa’s own desire to be a candid media darling came back to bite him.
On his little KNBR paid-infomercial, DeRosa let it slip that not only was he upset with his pathetic hitting (understandable), but his wrist just isn’t right and he’d have to get it checked. Of course that led to the realization that his wrist was never fixed during off-season surgery (something I worried about before the season), leaving the baseball world to ponder why in the hell Brian Sabean would give out two multiyear contracts to guys over 30 with not just injury concerns, but actual injuries.
Trust me, Sabean is NOT happy with this. Guys get injured, free agents don’t work out, but rarely are they so honest about their injuries in a public forum, which is why Mike Krukow ripped DeRosa for revealing too much this morning on KNBR. The other reason Kruk went against code and called out a veteran? Because he knows that Sabean and the training staff currently look like idiots, all because DeRosa wanted to clear his conscience.
DeRosa’s confessional might make him more popular with the media and some fans, but his name is poison in the Giants’ front office, trust me. Was he expecting to slide into a cushy adviser role with the San Francisco Giants, a guy who’d slip into the booth with Kruk and Kuip on opening day and spend his days getting paid to rub shoulders with Will Clark and Willie McCovey? No chance anymore. Sabean’s the longest-tenured GM in baseball (shudder), so there’s no doubt that he has tremendous pull with that dude wearing the bow-tie and that slick guy with the Jew-fro.
Now, even though he’s presided over the best starting rotation in a couple generations and has a team that looks poised to at least come close to making the playoffs, Sabean is back to being the guy who’s blind to the faults of veteran free agents. Everyone’s angry that DeRosa and Sanchez are making millions of dollars to rehabilitate old injuries they accrued while playing for other teams, and Sabean’s one of the old-schooliest GMs around. Using injuries as excuses is an absolute no-no; making the GM and team doctors look either irresponsible or just plain lazy is even worse.
Don’t feel sorry for DeRosa, he’s making a ton of money and will surely get a job as a commentator on ESPN or MLB Network or some local station at one of his several other stops he’s had. But as a smart guy, he has to know that heading off in the sunset as a lifetime San Francisco Giant is a dream that slipped away this week.