Mark DeRosa, a big league utility man who graduated from Penn in 1997, signed a 1-year, $775,000 contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. The contract includes a club option for the 2014 season.
DeRosa played for the Washington Nationals last season, posting a .188 average with six RBI in 48 games. Although his numbers were limited, DeRosa brought veteran leadership to a young and inexperienced clubhouse in D.C., and served as a mentor to many of the Nationals who helped lead the team to its first playoff appearance since its relocation to Washington in 2005.
DeRosa graduated from the Wharton School of Business in 1997. He has played for seven major league clubs over his 16 seasons. Though he will come off the bench in Toronto, manager John Gibbons will likely rely on DeRosa to bring experience and steady leadership to a Blue Jays squad with high hopes for 2013, especially after acquiring SS Jose Reyes, SP Josh Johnson and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey this offseason.
DP: You and Mark DeRosa represent two of the most accomplished professional athletes in the recent past to graduate from Penn. Are you at all close with Mark? Have you talked to him about making it to the Major Leagues as a former Penn student and Ivy Leaguer? Do you have any thoughts on Mark as a person or as a ballplayer?
I haven’t talked to him much in the offseason but whenever I see him we catch up, we definitely share that common thread. I did an event with him, it was an event for athletes against drugs last winter. We just talked, and when I introduced him I gave a nice warm 15 minute presentation on Mark DeRosa, and we both have the Jersey connection so yeah, I’m always rooting for him. I hope he continues to have success and plays as long as he can.
Last week, DP Sports alum Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Penn football and Penn baseball alumni Mark DeRosa was very close to reaching a deal with the Washington Nationals. Today, the one-year deal was officially finalized.
At Penn, DeRosa played both football and baseball, but left Penn early when he was drafted in 1996. Earlier this fall, Athletic Director Steve Bilsky talked about DeRosa's early departure from Penn:
One of the biggest eggs on my faces I ever had was when Mark DeRosa, who was an outstanding quarterback here, and probably would have set all of Penn's QB records if he stayed … was drafted. He wasn't just listening to what I had to say, but my sense was, 'Stay at Penn, you're going to be the all-time leading quarterback, you're going to be a good baseball player, you still might have a chance in baseball. And you're certainly going to have opportunities career-wise that are going to be unbelievable. As compared to leaving, taking your chances, the longshot of making it … really a long-shot. Look at what you're giving up.' And I think he's playing in his 13th year of Major League Baseball.
Last season was DeRosa's 14th year, and now, he's guaranteed a 15th. Not too shabby.
The former Penn shortstop and quarterback played the last two seasons with the San Francisco Giants, with whom he won the World Series in 2010. Plagued by injury this past year, DeRosa appeared in just 47 games, hitting .279 with 12 RBIs. For his career, he is a .272 hitter with 911 hits, 93 home runs and 452 RBIs. The Nationals will be DeRosa's seventh team.
Giants utility man and current disabled-list member Mark DeRosa visited today with the Penn baseball team — which he played on in the mid 90s when he was also a quarterback on the football team — before heading to Citizens Bank Park, where his Giants play the Phillies tonight in Game Six of the NLCS. Here's an interview with DeRosa from Penn Athletics, where he shares that his college roommate was Mark Fabish, Penn's current tight ends coach.
Mark DeRosa has no bearing on whether the Giants will make it to, or even win the World Series this year. But a World Series ring on a former Penn star is a World Series ring — whether he played or whether he's been on the disabled list since May.
So as the Giants and Phillies get a travel day before mayhem re-descends on Philadelphia for the weekend showdown and as the Quakers football team prepares to take on Yale tomorrow, here's a treat from the DP Archives: Mark DeRosa, redshirt freshman, in the 1993 game against Princeton.
and here is the one time two-sport Red and Blue athlete in his current Orange and Black:
News that the sides were close to agreement was first reported by FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, a DP alum with whom we also caught up not long ago.
DeRosa, 35 by Opening Day, is a .275 career hitter with 92 homers and 430 RBIs. He is the fourth-leading passer in Quakers football history, and played baseball here too, of course, before the Atlanta Braves drafted him in 1996
Funny story. Former Penn QB and third baseman Mark DeRosa was the person who informed Cliff Lee that he'd been traded to the Phillies.
"I actually called him," DeRosa said. "He hadn't heard the news yet. I said, 'It's coming across the ticker that you got traded to the Phillies.' And he was sitting in the clubhouse in Anaheim with Kerry Wood and said nothing had been told to him yet."
As a result of the publicized trade, many people were atwitter about the deal. Literally. As UTB observed, Mark DeRosa was one of the "trending topics" on Twitter this weekend, somehow only right beyond the misspelled "Micheal Jackson."
However, as for UTB's petition for DeRosa as commencement speaker next year, there's no way that's happening. Whether or not he'd be able to give a good speech, I somehow doubt he'll willingly take time off from the May baseball schedule to speak. But maybe in a few years when the 34-year old decides to retire he'll return to Franklin Field.