Slowly beating the horse to death - Mark DeRosa and Right Field
A couple of times today, I referred to an article I wrote toward the end of November about why starting Mark DeRosa in RF is not a brilliant plan. I won't rehash the entire article, but I'll point out again a few figures for you folks so you can see my standpoint.
First and foremost, Mark DeRosa is not a viable option in RF next year for two primary reasons. 1) Defensively he'd probably be below average in RF (to be fair, Colin thinks he'd be average, or maybe even slightly plus) and B) Offensively he'd be below average compared with the league.
Consider the following three lines as evidence:
2008 AVG - .285 AVG, 30 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 87 RBI, .376 OBP .857 OPS
Career AVG - .279 AVG, 27 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 64 RBI, .348 OBP, .770 OPS
MLB 08 AVG - .270 AVG, 37 2B, 4 3B, 21 HR, 87 RBI, .347 OBP, .797 OPS
The third line represents the overall production, by average, of every RFer in baseball last year. DeRosa was actually on par, if not slightly better than average in 2008, although his numbers would have placed him as the 14th-or-so best right fielder in 2008.
In other words, DeRosa's career year puts him as an average starting right fielder with below average defensive tools. Does anybody really think he'll match his career year numbers in 2009?
Contrast that with DeRosa's career average and the average output of a second baseman in baseball:
Him - .279 AVG, 27 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 64 RBI, .348 OBP, .770 OPS
Them - .275 AVG, 36 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 72 RBI, .338 OBP, .747 OPS
Here, DeRosa's likely output next year puts him slightly better than average compared with the league's second basemen.
Basically what I'm getting at is this: the Cubs don't need to turn a strength into a weakness. They need to turn their weakness in right field into a strength. Moving DeRosa to right field doesn't fix their offensive holes, it just shifts them around a little. After all, they will no longer have the 3rd best production in CF, which is what the Cubs had last year.
In other words, last year, the Cubs looked like this offensively: they were above average at 5 positions, average at 2, and below average at 1
Moving DeRosa to RF and starting Fontenot - or Hudson - at 2B won't improve that figure. They will be a weaker team offensively when last year's biggest failings were the offense in October. So, I'll say it again, and again, and again. Mark DeRosa is not a good option to play right field in 2009.