SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 12: Mark DeRosa #7 of the San Francisco Giants makes the play and throw to first base off the bunt of Ryan Roberts #14 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park May 12, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) is reporting tonight that the Washington Nationals are close to signing 36-year-old right-handed hitting and throwing infielder Mark DeRosa. "Source: DeRosa with #Nationals will be a one-year major-league deal," Mr. Rosenthal wrote on Twitter, "He will play super-utility role, serve as RH hitter off bench." The FOXSports.com reporter reported on the Nats' interest in DeRosa a few weeks back, writing in an article entitled, "DeRosa looking for opportunity", that the veteran of 14 major league seasons with the Braves, Rangers, Cubs, Indians, Cardinals and Giants had spoken to Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson and, "... came away encouraged by the conversation." Johnson told reporters at the time that DeRosa, who's missed significant time the last two seasons after injuring and twice undergoing surgery on his left wrist, could fill an important role on the Nats' bench...
MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported that the Nationals remained interested in DeRosa two days ago in an article entitled, "DeRosa still interested in joining Nationals", in which mentioned that the Nats' manager reached out to DeRosa after the Nationals learned about the hamstring injury 23-year-old first baseman Chris Marrero suffered playing winter ball. Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore quoted Davey Johnson in an article from the Winter Meetings entitled, "Adam LaRoche is ‘100 percent,’ but the Nationals want insurance at first base", saying that the Nats needed a right-handed bat off the bench who could back up Adam LaRoche now that Marrero was unable to compete for a spot.
DeRosa's played in just 73 games in the last two seasons, putting up a .253/.313/.279 slash in 201 plate appearances over which he's hit just five doubles and one home run. After returning from a long stint on the DL last August, DeRosa had a .367/.439/.388 line with one double in 57 plate appearances. In his last full season in 2009 with the Indians and Cardinals, DeRosa had a .250/.319/.433 line, down some from his career .272/.341/.416 slash. The Nationals signed Mike Cameron on Monday and were reportedly talking to Greg Dobbs as well as they seek to build the sort of bench Davey Johnson's told the Nats he wants.