DeRosa is expected to be a reserve first baseman and make occasional starts in the outfield, and also at second and third base.
During the Winter Meetings, Washington manager Davey Johnson acknowledged that he called DeRosa after it was learned that first baseman Chris Marrero would not start the 2012 season on time. Marrero tore his left hamstring while playing winter ball. Marrero is not expected to play in a Major League game until after the All-Star Break. Johnson managed DeRosa in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
"Mark gives us a veteran presence on the bench -- versatility and a proven winner," general manager Mike Rizzo said in a text message. "His character and makeup are championship caliber. His intelligence and baseball acumen are vital components to accomplishing our goal."
DeRosa, 36, spent the past two years with the Giants. This season, DeRosa played in 47 games and hit .279 with 12 RBIs. He became a free agent after the season ended. DeRosa has a .272 career batting average with 93 home runs and 452 RBIs since making his Major League debut with the Braves in 1998. He also has a .341 on-base percentage.
DeRosa's had serious problems with his left wrist the previous two seasons, but Johnson is convinced that DeRosa is 100 percent healthy and will have an impact coming off the bench.
"I know he is healthy," Johnson said. "I had him in the World Baseball Classic. What a great guy on the ballclub. With Chris Marrero down and maybe some question marks regarding Adam LaRoche, DeRosa just fits. [DeRosa] is not only a defensive asset, but an offensive asset. We have to have a little more offense off the bench. I reached out to him and it was a great sign by Rizzo."
DeRosa has been a member of 10 clubs to reach the postseason and hit a combined .358 with a .414 OBP in 58 career playoff games with the Braves (2001-03), Cubs (2007-08) and Cardinals (2009).
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.