DeRosa surprised by Nats’ disappointing season
NEW YORK — Blue Jays infielder Mark DeRosa said Tuesday that he is surprised the Nationals have been inconsistent this season.
Entering Tuesday’s action, the Nationals are 60-64, 16 games behind the Braves in the National League East and 10 ½ games behind the Reds in the second and final spot in the NL Wild Card race.
“As good as last year was, nothing is ever written in stone,” said DeRosa, who played on the 2012 Nationals. “But you get that vibe that it’s going to happen [for the Nationals] again. They are going to get on the track and they are going to roll toward the World Series [someday]. … The talent is there. Every season has a way of letting you know it’s not that easy.”
DeRosa didn’t play much for the Nationals last year because of injuries, but was a major influence on the young players such as Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina. Both players credited DeRosa for their ability to be successful off the bench last year.
“I was a sounding board for a lot of guys. I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind, regardless of how poorly I played,” DeRosa said. “The same thing goes for Michael Morse, a guy who kept the clubhouse loose, a guy people enjoyed seeing. The same with Sean Burnett, the same with Tom Gorzelanny. These guys were significant pieces of the team.”
After the season ended, DeRosa, Morse, Gorzelanny, Burnett and Michael Gonzalez all left the Nationals. Asked who is missed the most, DeRosa said, “It’s a combination of all of us. To not have the lefties in the ‘pen to start the year was a situation that could haunt them. But they felt comfortable going out in getting [Rafael] Soriano and doing all those things. They have done an amazing job over there.
“I don’t want to say they took a step back. I still say that talent is there for them to win a World Series. But for whatever reason, it didn’t happen [this year].”
DeRosa is having a productive season off the bench, hitting seven home runs with 31 RBIs. He could become a free agent after the season if the Blue Jays don’t pick up his option.
“We haven’t discussed anything moving forward. I feel good. My wrist is healthy. I’m hitting the occasional home run. I’m doing my job, which is very rewarding. Last year, all I brought to the table was a voice and that was frustrating, but I did the best I could — given the circumstances,” DeRosa said.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson is planning to retire after this season. Would DeRosa be interested in the job?
“God, I haven’t even thought about that. You think Jayson Werth would listen to me? I don’t think so,” DeRosa said jokingly. “I’ve been asked that question quite a bit, but that’s down the road. I have to run it by my wife. She has been grinding it with me for so long that if I’m not going to play, I have to go home for a minute and be a dad.”