The Toronto Blue Jays signed 15-year major league veteran Mark DeRosa, a signing that had many fans wondering what role he would play on a team loaded with talent. The aging DeRosa hasn’t played more than 48 games in seasons since 2009 due to injuries and a diminished role.
However, the Blue Jays were looking outside the box when inking the veteran, concentrating on his leadership and club house reputation.
Throughout spring training, DeRosa has been paired on the infield with 23-year old Brett Lawrie. It’s been well documented that the hyperactive Lawrie has all the talent in the world, but needs to find a way to harness his energy and slow the train down. Enter Mark DeRosa.
DeRosa was quoted by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star as having said this about Lawrie “It’s just a matter of tempering that enthusiasm, that passion, allowing yourself to relax and let the true tools come through, not force it. I hope to be a sounding board for (Brett) and I hope to be able to build a relationship with him and it’s already starting to take shape, where I’m able to say a few things and he knows it’s coming from a good place.”
It also doesn’t hurt that in 11 at-bats this spring, DeRosa is batting .636 with a home run. If he keeps putting those numbers up, he won’t have worry about mentoring Lawrie — he may have his job.
Once again, the Blue Jays’ brain trust proves it’s about more than just making big trades, and sometimes putting under-the-radar players in place may aid the team in other areas than just the box score.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.