Blog Entry

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:35 am

This will probably strike a nerve with several Cubs fans since Mark Derosa was a fan favorite.  So please take it into consideration that I am merely making a comparison based off of computer stats, not personal opinion.  Let's step back and compare DeRo with a possible internal replacement, Mike Fontenot. 

Mark DeRosa was a slightly below average defender at second base in 2008 (UZR -8.8), as well as slightly above average offensively at the position.  his replacement should be......

Mike Fontenot.  Fonty's UZR150 (16.5) is way better than Derosa and Fangraphs predicts that he would be a significantly better defensive second baseman over the course of a season than Derosa.  However, 16.5 is a bit of a stretch since he was not an every day player.  They suggest that a modest adjustment would be to take half of that number.

Now lets move to offense for a second.  Mark Derosa is coming off of a career year and he will more than likely never duplicate that production.  Mike Fontenot had an excellent offensive season as well but mainly faced right handed pitchers.   Derosa's career average would be around .280 13HR and 65RBI.  That is probably a more fitting projection than the 21 and 87 he had this season.  Mike Fontenot's career consists of roughly 500 at bats (essentially a full season).  A number of those at bats were pinch hits as well (which add difficulty to those at bats). Over his career Fontenot is a .290 12HR and 69RBI.  those are very comparable to Derosa's career average.  So, from that we can conclude that Fontenot is a comparable offensive player.

Mark Derosa is projected with a WAR 2.0.  this means that as an overall player Mark Derosa adds 2 wins over an average replacement.

Mike Fontenot is projected with a WAR of 3.4 over a full season.  That would mean that Fontenot is 3.4 games better than the average replacement and 1.4 games better than Derosa.  So, from a statistical point you could make a strong argument that Mike Fontenot is a better player and that by losing Derosa and replacing him with Fontenot the Cubs actually upgraded at second base internally.

Category: MLB
Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2009 1:12 pm
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Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2009 2:55 pm

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

While I liked Mark DeRosa and didn't like this trade, my real problem with the trade wasn't getting rid of DeRosa, per se. I agree that selling high might not have been the worst idea. My real gripe with the trade is that we got essentially nothing in return (i.e. we didn't really "sell high," even though DeRosa's value should have been fairly high). The minor leaguers we got, as I understand it, are midlevel prospects. I understand that we wanted to dump salary, "get more left-handed," etc. But I think DeRosa was worth enough that we could have gotten at least one good prospect out of it.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2009 6:26 pm

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

2008's carbon copy playoffs of 2007 proved that an adjustment needed to be made in the lineup.  Fukudome proved not to be the left handed bat we needed in the middle of the order.  Will DeRosa's numbers stay at their career high levels, or maybe Hendry traded a player while his stock was high, instead of being the guy to sign the aging vet past his prime.  (Can I interest anyone in a Fred McGriff or Goose Goassage?)

Fontenot has surprising power for his size, and can give us some much needed speed at the top of the order, and better range in the middle infield.  I sincerely hope Hendry is not done for the winter, and I hope Lou can keep Bradley in line.

It's -10 in Chicago this evening...when do we get to spring?

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2009 2:15 am

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

Like a lot of Cubs fans, I hated to see Mark DeRosa go, simply because he had the aura of being a clutch player, and the Cubs need all the "clutch" they can get, since we've got a lot of guys who tend to be on the streaky side, rather than the consistent side.

That being said, you make good points and have the stats to back it up.  I do think DeRosa had a career last year, and it would have been tough to get that same kind of production from him.  Although he did have the incentive of this being his free agency season, and we all know how big of a motivator the almighty dollar can be, so who knows?  He's got millions and millions of reasons to top last year's output.  I don't know much about these pitchers we got from the Indians (and I'm still hoping it's part of Hendry's end game for Jake Peavy), but from all accounts, we got good value for DeRosa, so it's good that we sold high.

I like the idea that Mike Fontenot could be in the lineup more consistently, because he's certainly got some pop in his bat and, with more plate appearances, can continue to improve.  It's tough to get better when you're not seeing major league pitching on an everyday basis, so hopefully this will help.  And I do think there's an intangible on defense -- the fact that Fontenot and Ryan Theriot were a double-play combination through college creates the kind of on-field chemistry it would take most big-league combos 10 years to develop.

Sure, we'll miss DeRo, but ultimately, it's about the team.  So hopefully the MiFo and Aaron Miles platoon will become a key component in what will hopefully be a great 2009 season for the Northsiders.

Since: Aug 22, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2009 4:18 pm

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

NyN -

Interesting question.  First, you are right.  DeRosa has been a fan favorite for awhile.  He has had solid play for us, we are not talking all-star but solid.  I think he is such a fan favorite because of his personality and what we all hear about him from the press, interviews, teammates, etc...  He will be missed for that reason, without a doubt.

I will be the first to admit that his play at times has been frustrating.  Equally, it has been great as well.  I will say that he has never been one of my favorites though his versatility is a bonus for any ball club.  He did have a career year last year for us but considering our offense, I think alot of guys will and would.  I would have liked him to be a Cub again next year, but losing him will not cause me any sleep loss.

As far a little Mike Fontenot goes....Love 'em!  I have no idea what is with this guy.  Seems undersized, but scrappy.  He's the kind of guy that will always give you a hard time or a battle at the plate and plays with heart in the infield.  As someone else said in their comments, he is young and in my opinion he is full of promise.  I would like Chicago to give him the chance to play everday for a season so they can see what kind of longevity he has.  Pluses, minuses, etc.  I think he will flourish in the windy city and will be a great asset for us. 

I think we can go over WAR's and UZR's; intagibles; locker room stuff; teammate relationships...we could go through all of that and find out that we are even up or a little better off with Mike than with Mark.  Me, I think we are better off.  There comes point where you have to guess when a player has passed their prime and when their numbers will take a hit.  I think at best Mark has another decent to good year left in him.  I like that we got what we could for him now which will be more than what we would have gotten next year.  Mike hasn't gotten to his prime yet and I think he deserves a bonafide chance at playing everday. 

I think Mike and the Cubs will be just fine without Mark.  Though he will be missed by fans and teammates; I think us fans will find in the future that this was a good and solid move.

Since: Jun 12, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2009 2:25 pm

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

Put me in thet skeptics column.  Don't get me wrong, i'm a fan of Mike Fontenot, but i just wonder if his stats will pan out if he does indeed play 145+ games at 2nd base. Hitting curve balls and breaking stuff, while the achilles of many hitters, was not a strong point and facing more starting pitchers, he'll see a lot more breaking balls and off speed stuff than he did in many of his late in the game at bats when he was facing relievers who tend to be one or two pitch guys, with one if not both pitchces being hard and fairly straight.  i worry about the loss of DeRosa as much as a leader on the team. I think Fontenot is popular with his teammates as best i can tell, but I don't see him as a clubhouse leader, at least not yet.

When the Cubs seem to be looking to have or add "name" players at virtually every position, I wonder if they will be willing to "settle" for having Mike Fontenot at second base. Heck they even made a token effort to sign Rafael Furcal to play shortstop this off-season... presumably to then move Theriot to 2nd base.

I look for them to re-visit the Brian Robers case, if not during the off season, then most likely around trade deadline time, when Roberts is just a few months from free-agency. Perhaps there is another left-handed hitting second baseman out there, or even a decent right handed hitter who could platoon with Fontenot out there. But I will be mildly surprised if Fontenot is the man at second base for the entire season.

Since: Nov 17, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 5:48 pm

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?

I agree with the DeRosa addition by subtraction.  Fontenot and Miles will come in and make up what we lost with DeRosa at a lower rate of pay.  The Cubs are now more left handed, which is one of Hendry's objectives this offseason.  Fontenot has the power that the Cubs lost with DeRosa's departure and both Miles and Fontenot have better gloves.  If Hendry was going to move DeRosa this was the time because DeRosa was playing some of the best baseball of his career so his trade value was at its highest.  This team needed some changes and hopefully Hendry know what he is doing and the Cubs will be able to win all the way thru the World Series.

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 2:52 pm

Was Losing Mark Derosa Addition by Subtraction?


i gotta say i'm with you on this. i usually don't take the time to look up all the stats, so thanks for that. i think this could go either way if you are looking for who will be better. maybe hendry let go of someone who was hitting his stride, or he realized what many fans are saying, that derosa had his career year and that's it. not that he won't be solid and dependable, just that his numbers won't be as high as '08.

me personally, i like looking at the "intangibles". fontenot will be around for more years, giving the cubs comparable production offensively and an projected upgrade in defense for a longer amount of time. i think one thing that goes overlooked is the amount of time that fontenot and theriot have played together. anyone who has ever played middle infield knows how important it is to be comfortable with your 2b/ss. so not only do they get an upgrade at 2nd, but the ss plays "better" because he knows that he can trust his counterpart.

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