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Mark DeRosa joins MLB Network as a studio analyst

Nov 13, 2013, 9:50 AM EDT

Mark DeRosa

When news of Mark DeRosa‘s retirement came down yesterday my first thought, and the thought of many others, was that DeRosa was going to be a TV or radio analyst pretty darn quick. And it was quick. Less than 24 hours, in fact:

MLB Network today announced that after a 16-year career, Mark DeRosa has joined its roster of on-air talent as a studio analyst. DeRosa, who served as a guest analyst on MLB Network during the 2013 and 2011 Postseasons, will appear across MLB Network’s studio programming and make his debut on MLB Tonight on Monday, December 9, live from the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

I think DeRosa will be pretty good at that job. Based on interviews and things you can tell he’s smart and he’s often funny and that goes a long, long way. So: nice hire.

But then I look farther down the press release and I see this:

DeRosa joins former Major Leaguers Eric Byrnes, Sean Casey, Joey Cora, Ron Darling, Cliff Floyd, Darryl Hamilton, John Hart, Jim Kaat, Al Leiter, Mike Lowell, Joe Magrane, Jerry Manuel, Kevin Millar, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Billy Ripken, John SmoltzDave Valle and Mitch Williams as analysts at MLB Network.

That makes DeRosa the 19th former big leaguer currently working as an MLB Network analyst, plus former GM John Hart.  Call me crazy, but I feel like they’ve got the ex-player angle covered, don’t you? I mean, I think ex-ballplayers can have some good insight, but 19 of them? Especially when most of them are exceedingly averse from criticizing current baseball players as a matter of disposition? I feel like they should have more ex-coaches. Some scouts. More front office types. More statistical analysts (or at least people who are comfortable discussing statistical concepts). It just seems way too ex-player-heavy to me.

So, yes: I love the DeRosa hire. But in the interests of roster balance can’t we DFA someone here? Mitch Williams? Kevin Millar? Harold Reynolds? Because I feel like we have the ex-ballplayer thing pretty well covered at this point.

  1. bfunk1978 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Doesn’t Jerry Manuel also count as an ex-coach, ex-manager? They had Hurdle but then he went back to managing.

    I do agree though that they could use some more variety. Most of these guys provide all the insight of current player interviews – “well we just go out there and have to get it done, take it one game at a time.”

    There must be some fear of non-players within the MLB Network, like they’re afraid of making current players mad or something.

  2. hep3 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    If only the MLB Network would get rid of Harold Reynolds. Nice guy, adds little.

    • stex52 - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      I like Harold. I’m not disagreeing with your assessment, but there’s something about his open, bouncy approach is kind of appealing. And it doesn’t kill to have a guy an air who pushes back against the stat-driven approach. I mean, it’s not that I think he’s right, but it’s not like he’s a Creationist or something.

  3. sdelmonte - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Some of these guys – Darling, Leiter, Kaat – are probably “analysts” in the sense of being color commentators. And you know that the law requires every booth have one retired player as a color commentator.

  4. pilonflats - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    he shouldn’t be wearing a giants jersey in the photo, he was a nightmare as a giant and unapologetic about it

  5. shanabartels - Nov 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I understand what you mean about getting perspectives from industry folks other than ex-players, and I definitely have very little patience for morons with zero insight such as Kevin Millar and Mitch Williams, but I think MLB Network decided to prioritize hiring household names and recognizable faces over actual insightful people (Brian Kenny is an exception, obviously). I’m not saying I agree with their priorities, but I understand why they didn’t want to hire a bunch of guys the average fan wouldn’t recognize. They’re trying to strike a balance, and they could improve upon that, but they’re still more palatable in my opinion than Exceptionally Stupid People’s Network.

  6. APBA Guy - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    The problem is how many of those 19 former players are completely interchangeable at a very low level of insight and charisma. Meaning Craig is exactly right, there is a lot of room for some DFA’s.

    Kenny has his own show that is a platform for his stat oriented insight. The offseason show, Clubhouse Confidential, is fabulous. ESPN’s show BBTN just had nothing this year. Despite much better overall analysts, their hosts suffered in comparison to the departed Steve Berthiaume and the shows seemed tedious and amateurishly produced.

    But most of the channels are pretty good at reading their ratings, and can track if MLB Tonight rates higher with Mitch Williams than it does with Eric Byrnes. That’s what will determine who’s DFA’d.

  7. thomas844 - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    DeRosa and Muni Kawasaki need a show together once Kawasaki retires. Those two bounce jokes off of each other so well and they absolutely killed me when they were on Intentional Talk.

  8. jclyde1 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    May want to take Harold of your DFA list, he’s the only reason I know about HBT, cuz he gave you a shout out on air one day!

  9. moogro - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Hopefully they can DFA Eric Byrnes first. He is spastic and struggles to think and speak. Terrible conversationalist with other co-hosts. Needless petty arguments. He’s had years to try make it on TV and he’s not improving.

    This post is right on. The fresh air that MLB network was has started to stale a bit. More scouts and execs like John Hart are needed for hosts. Diamond Demos are still a great way to use former players. But having former players ramping up their editorial contributions the last year as part of the MLB network branding effort is not adding value. MLB network’s honeymoon period is over, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep it fresh or sink into the tedium of just another sportz tawk opinion source.

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