Major League Baseball
Cards acquire versatile DeRosa from Indians
Major League Baseball

Cards acquire versatile DeRosa from Indians

Published Jun. 29, 2009 4:17 a.m. ET

The trade rumors that have followed Mark DeRosa since May have ended.

The popular, versatile DeRosa is headed to St. Louis.

Work ahead for Indians

Very soon, we will be able to judge whether Saturday's Mark DeRosa trade was a good deal for the St. Louis Cardinals.

If he helps them make the playoffs, it will be viewed favorably. Otherwise, it probably won't.

The circumstances are different for the Cleveland Indians, who may have to wait for years to learn the full extent of their return.

They obtained reliever Chris Perez, who should help their bullpen immediately. But there's also a player to be named later.

Over the coming weeks, the Indians will scout the St. Louis farm system to determine the second player in the trade. One official with knowledge of the transaction said minor league right-handers Jess Todd and Francisco Samuel are on the list of possibilities.

It's not known if other players are on the list agreed upon by the clubs. But Todd and Samuel are hard throwers who could fit into Cleveland's bullpen next year. And anyone who has watched the Indians play recently is aware that they have an immediate need for power arms at the end of the game.

Todd has appeared in one big-league game this season and has a 2.73 ERA in 28 appearances at Class AAA Memphis.

Samuel is 3-3 with a 4.55 ERA in 32 games at Class AA Springfield.

The Indians will receive the second player on or before Sept. 1. Until then, the box scores of Cardinals minor league games will be of great interest to Indians fans.

Jon Paul Morosi

The Cardinals announced late Saturday that they acquired DeRosa from the Cleveland Indians for reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named.

DeRosa, 34, was batting .270 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI for Cleveland this season. He had started games at third base, left field, right field and first base this year.

The Cardinals hope that he will be the complementary hitter to slugger Albert Pujols that their lineup has lacked. DeRosa is expected to join the team prior to Sunday's game against Minnesota.

"We felt that this deal provided us with an excellent opportunity to improve our team, especially from an offensive standpoint," St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said. "We feel our team has the pitching to contend, and if we can get the offense to produce at a more consistent level, then our overall performance should benefit."

He goes from the Indians, who have the worst record in the American League, to the Cardinals, who are tied with Milwaukee for first place in the National League Central.

"You want to hit the rewind button here," DeRosa said of the Indians' disappointing season. "From a selfish standpoint, I get to battle for a division title again and I'm in a good position with a great team."

DeRosa is likely to take over as the Cardinals' primary third baseman, one major league source said. St. Louis manager Tony La Russa had recently used a combination of Khalil Greene and Joe Thurston at the position. Troy Glaus was slated to play third base but has missed the season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Cleveland's motivation was acquiring power arms to help a beleaguered bullpen. Perez, who turns 24, on July 1, has a 4.18 ERA in 29 appearances with a 1-1 record and one save.

"He throws 93 to 95 (mph)," Indians GM Mark Shapiro said. "He had back end stuff and the ability to get a strikeout."

Perez, who is expected to join the team Monday, and the recently-acquired Jose Veras, should help stabilize the late innings in front of recently-struggling closer Kerry Wood.

One person with close knowledge of the discussions said a number of teams were involved in trade talks about DeRosa throughout the week. The Reds, Giants, Cubs and Mets were among the most prominent suitors.

"We felt the time was right to maximize the value Mark had," Shapiro said.

Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera will be activated from the disabled list Sunday to take DeRosa's roster spot.

The Braves, who have searched for an outfield bat even after acquiring Nate McLouth from Pittsburgh, had mild interest in DeRosa but never reached the point of exchanging names with Shapiro.

There are still a number of hitters available for teams to consider, including Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff and Ty Wigginton of Baltimore; Mark Teahen and David DeJesus of Kansas City; and Matt Holliday of Oakland.

The trade comes at a particularly difficult time for the National League Central rival Cubs, who have missed the consistency DeRosa offered while playing on the North Side in 2007 and 2008.

Right fielder Milton Bradley, who effectively replaced DeRosa on the Chicago roster, was sent home during Friday's game against the White Sox after an argument with manager Lou Piniella. Then the Cubs lost a back-and-forth game to the White Sox on Saturday, after the bullpen failed to hold a late lead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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