Discussion

DeRosa dealt; Piniella, Bradley reduced to tears

Updated: June 28, 2009, 4:09 PM ET
Mark DeRosa will never be a hitter who will force opposing pitchers to think about throwing strikes to Albert Pujols. But remember, there might be only one or two hitters on the planet who are that good.

DeRosa is, however, a perfect fit for the Cardinals. And he's a perfect player especially for manager Tony La Russa, who likes to mix and match his hitters according to the opposing pitcher and who's hot and who's not in the St. Louis lineup. Now that the Cardinals have added DeRosa in a trade with the Indians, he could start at third base, given that Khalil Greene has suffered a relapse of his anxiety disorder. Or, if Greene rebounds, DeRosa could start in left field, or in right, or perhaps at second base.

DeRosa is batting .270 with 13 homers, but those cumulative numbers don't tell the whole story about him. After hitting .236 in April, he posted a .359 on-base percentage in May and has an .851 OPS in June, with five homers and 17 RBIs in 86 at-bats. DeRosa could hit cleanup -- although that's probably unlikely, given the number of left-handed hitters available to La Russa -- or maybe he'll hit fifth, sixth or second. No matter; he'll be a solid part of a supporting cast for Pujols, and he could absolutely haunt the Cubs, who chose to move DeRosa after his excellent 2008 season so they could make room for Milton Bradley. DeRosa has a career average of .305 in Wrigley Field, with an OPS of .858; you already can envision days later this summer when DeRosa comes up in a big spot against the Cubs with a chance to put competitive daggers into his former teammates. The Cubs, 3½ games out of first place in the NL Central, will host the Cardinals in the final four games before the All-Star break.

It wasn't long ago when La Russa met with Cardinals honcho Bill DeWitt, and they spoke of adding some help. La Russa got some and may get more. St. Louis may not necessarily have finished dealing, because the Cardinals have been casting big nets in trade talks this week. They have had conversations with Oakland about Matt Holliday and probably could get a deal done if they agree to part with young infielder Brett Wallace. They could use a veteran reliever now that Chris Perez has been dealt.

Meanwhile, with or without protection, Pujols continues to have an incredible season. He mashed homers Nos. 27 and 28 on Saturday, Joe Strauss writes. It was another special day for Pujols.

• The Indians, on the other hand, received exactly what they wanted in Perez. As Cleveland discussed DeRosa with the Mets, Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and other teams, the Indians made it clear that they had to get a young pitcher who has a chance to be very good. Perez could have high impact for Cleveland because of his explosive mid-90s fastball. The player to be named also is expected to be a solid prospect, which is good return for Cleveland in dealing DeRosa, who has just three months before he becomes a free agent. DeRosa said it just didn't work out for him in Cleveland.

To read the rest of Buster Olney's blog, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider

ESPN TOP HEADLINES