Turns 35 in February. Became a full-time player in 2006 with the Rangers, making 59 starts in RF, 40 starts at 3B, and 26 starts at 2B. His 2008 slash line with the Cubs .285/.376/.481 (117 OPS+) is better than all 2009 Giants not named Sandoval. He had 80 starts at 2B, 53 in the OF, and 10 at 3B that year, his career best (.376 wOBA in 593 plate appearances), and was worth about 3.8 WAR.
Obviously we like his versatility. He seems like the ideal Boch/Sabes player--grizzled vet, some pop, a post-season resumé, NL pedigree, can play different spots, and hits anywhere in the lineup. It would be nice if it were a younger player with upside, but that's not our way. At least, not with position players. I like our young pitchers and their upside, but this "one-Aaron-Rowand-at-a-time" philosophy of lineup construction is a teeth-gritting affair. Aaron Rowand's career line? Glad you asked: .280/.339/.448 for a .788 OPS and 102 OPS+. And now Mr. DeRosa's: .275/.343/.424 for a .767 OPS and 97 OPS+. Toss in FSanchez and that is the very definition of "league average." In fact, the NL last season had an average line of .259/.330/.409, only a .739 OPS, so we've got surplus of average we can spread around!
I've been whining all along that we need at least a "league-average" offense to win. This assumes, of course, that our awesome pitching remains awesome. I don't abide by the "bloop-double-and-two-productive-out" school of run-scoring. Sure, it's cute and perky and all that, but three-run HRs are a LOT better, no matter how boring they are. So I think we need another serious bat to complement Sandoval. Matt Holliday just might have to take a 3-year, $40 M deal instead of the 6-year $80 M payday he says he wants, and if that happens there is no reason why the Giants couldn't court him. But I figure we'll sign Juan Uribe. He can play short if/when Renteria goes down, and can handle the other three IF spots. DeRosa would work in LF, assuming Lewis gets dumped and Project Velez is abandoned. That would give Olympic Nate his shot in RF, and we could keep Panda at 3B and give Ishikawa the bulk of the time at 1B. Fielding is important, and DeRosa would likely contribute better with the glove in LF than anywhere else, he's known as a below-average infielder.
Other than that, Swiss Army knives are pretty cool. I mean, when you are backpacking you can't carry a freakin' toolbox so you have to have a half-assed scissors, a half-assed carving knife, a half-assed Phillips-head screwdriver, and a half-assed file. Having them in one convenient package is very cool. (Personally, I'm a Leatherman guy, but that's a quibble.) But if you had a choice, would you buy a proper tool for each task or just a bunch more Swiss Army knives? The Giants are going the multiple Swiss Army knife route here, I think, in their continuing quest for "league-average." I'm reminded of that old saw: careful what you wish for.