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DeRosa's versatility attracting attention

DeRosa's versatility attracting attention

As the holidays draw closer -- thus marking what's usually a lull period in baseball's offseason -- Matt Holliday and Jason Bay continue to garner most of the attention in the free-agent market. But though fans focus mainly on the two marquee left fielders who still haven't signed their pricey contracts, another player is likely drawing more interest from team executives.

His name is Mark DeRosa, and though he doesn't have the eye-popping stats of Holliday and Bay throughout his career, he's productive, versatile and a whole lot cheaper.

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And in an economic climate like this one, guys like DeRosa have substantial value.

This offseason, basically every team with a need in the corner outfield, corner infield or even second base has at some point been rumored to be interested in DeRosa, who's played every position throughout his 12-year career except pitcher, catcher and center field.

All along, while the Cardinals have been going back and forth with agent Scott Boras in hopes of bringing back Holliday, DeRosa has been widely considered "Plan B."

The Yankees now have a hole in left field after trading Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez, and they could look in DeRosa's direction.

The same can be said about the Braves, though they reportedly eliminated an open spot in the lineup on Wednesday by reaching an agreement with Troy Glaus to play first.

Also, Boston could use another bat. Since Holliday and Bay have been deemed too expensive for them, perhaps they inquire.

Don't forget about teams like the Mets, Mariners, Twins and Orioles, too.

But all offseason, no club has seemingly shown more interest in DeRosa than the starved-for-offense Giants. And according to an SI.com report on Wednesday, the club previously offered the 34-year-old right-handed hitter a two-year, $12-million contract.

If a team wants DeRosa for next season and beyond, it's probably going to take at least two guaranteed years at $6 million per season to nab him. And SI.com counted "at least 11 teams" that have knowingly shown interest in him.

Still, DeRosa has been stuck on the fence with several clubs this offseason, as many of them looked for better, pricier options than DeRosa but considered him a strong alternative choice. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote last week that the market for DeRosa has narrowed since the Winter Meetings. And after wanting a reported $10-million-a-year deal earlier this offseason, The Boston Globe reported Sunday that DeRosa's asking price has gone down -- as evidenced by the offer SI.com mentioned.

In a 2009 season hampered by wrist and back problems, DeRosa batted .250 with 23 homers, 78 RBIs and 78 runs scored while playing in 139 games for the Indians and Cardinals. The previous three years, he batted .291 with a .368 on-base percentage while averaging 15 homers and 78 RBIs per season.

While playing with five different teams in his career -- which started with seven years in Atlanta -- the New Jersey product has compiled a .275 batting average, 92 homers, 430 RBIs and a .767 OPS.

DeRosa has played his most games, 311, at third base, but has also seen time at second base (304 games), right field (160), shortstop (139), left field (59) and first base (23).

At some point this offseason, DeRosa will go from being a team's "Plan B" to a top priority. And his demand can further increase if he's still in the open market after Holliday and Bay have signed.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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