16 years is a long time to do anything, but it is an especially lengthy period to serve as a Major League Baseball player. That is the length of service time accumulated by Toronto Blue Jays infielder Mark DeRosa, and according to the team (and MLB), he is set to retire from the game.
16-year veteran Mark DeRosa informs @BlueJays that he is retiring.
— MLB (@MLB) November 12, 2013
The decision for the 38-year-old utility man to retire isn’t a surprising one. After all, that is considered “old” by baseball standards, especially in a non-pitching role, but DeRosa was fairly productive during the 2013 season in Toronto.
For the year, he posted a .733 OPS in 236 plate appearances (88 games) and blasted 7 home runs for good measure. Unfortunately for DeRosa, this was his best season at the plate since 2009, and the market likely wasn’t screaming (and/or lining up) to give him a job for the 2014 campaign.
In his prime, DeRosa posted three consecutive seasons (2006-2008) as a 2.5+ win player, and in 2008 with the Cubs, he blasted 21 home runs and scored 103 runs while putting up a star-level 4.0 WAR (according to FanGraphs). That stretch probably won’t be what he is remembered for, but I will certainly call on memories of an ultra-valuable utility man who could do many things well while not taking much off the table, no matter where he played on the diamond.
DeRosa was never an elite player, but going to the plate 4,094 times in a Major League uniform is something to envy, and he had a helluva run.