Get ready to watch a fleet of Cubs fans swooning.
According to a report from Dave Kaplan (and a radio report from Bruce Levine over the weekend), a new name has entered WGN’s search for a new color broadcaster to pair with Len Kasper on Chicago Cubs broadcasts. Well, it’s an old name: it’s Mark DeRosa.
DeRosa, 37, has entered the twilight of his playing career, and spent two seasons with the Cubs in 2007 and 2008, instantly connecting with fans. I suspect that the fact that his two years here were both playoff years didn’t hurt that connection. (Side note: his trade to the Indians netted pitching prospect Chris Archer, who would go on to become one of the most important pieces in the trade for Matt Garza, another Cubs fan favorite. The transitive property of DeRosa.)
He’s got limited broadcasting experience, having worked a few days in the post-season with the MLB Network. He’s expressed an interest in broadcasting, but he’s also said that, when his playing days are over, he might want to take a little time to just be a husband and father.
Because the Cubs’ contract with WGN, who hires the broadcasting team, runs only through 2014, WGN may be able to offer only a two-year deal, which could force them to get more creative with their choices. Houston Astros’ broadcaster Jim Deshaies, CSN analyst Todd Hollandsworth, and Fox analyst Eric Karros are believed to be the other candidates right now. Sarge Matthews, currently broadcasting for the Philadelphia Phillies might also still be in the running.
The rub in all of this? DeRosa is still looking for a playing gig. Jon Heyman says DeRosa hopes to catch on as a 24th/25th man type this year.
Even if he doesn’t find a playing job, that might not be settled until February. The Cubs obviously can’t wait that long to make a broadcaster decision (I mean, right? They’ll have Spring games in late February, though I suppose they could do those without the official color man.)
So, what do you think? Do you like DeRosa as a candidate? I can’t say I’ve heard him all that much, but I do know he’s a popular figure around these parts. I think Deshaies remains my favorite, but, given the contractual constraints, I’m open to WGN getting creative on a new face.