DeRosa cashes in on career year, to sign with Cubs

Updated: November 14, 2006, 9:26 PM ET news services

CHICAGO -- Mark DeRosa became the first major league free agent to switch teams this offseason, agreeing Tuesday to a $13 million, three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.

Second Base
Chicago Cubs

136 13 74 78 .357 .296

A nine-year veteran, he is expected to be the Cubs' everyday second baseman next season. The 31-year-old DeRosa batted a career-high .296 with 13 homers and a career-best 74 RBI last season for the Texas Rangers, appearing at six positions and starting at all four infield spots. He can also play the outfield.

"They deserve a winner. Chicago deserves a winner," DeRosa said during a conference call. "Hopefully, I can come in there and provide leadership in the clubhouse and be a character guy and command respect."

The agreement was first reported by ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Drafted by the Braves in 1996, he has appeared in 595 major league games with Atlanta and Texas. Although the Cubs were an NL-worst 66-96 last season, DeRosa asked, "Why wouldn't I want to come to Chicago?"

He was looking forward to playing second base every day in a place where the atmosphere "is electric."

Chicago earlier re-signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez to a five-year, $75 million deal and pitchers Kerry Wood (one year for $1.75 million) and Wade Miller. The Cubs also hired a new manager: Lou Piniella.

With DeRosa signed, Ronny Cedeno will have to earn a spot on the roster. The team's starting shortstop when last season began, Cedeno batted .308 in April but finished at .245. He also had trouble in the field, committing 25 errors in his first full season.

Cedeno made 14 starts at second base after the Cubs acquired Cesar Izturis from the Dodgers on July 31, but moved back to shortstop after Izturis sustained a hamstring injury.

"We're not here to bury Ronny Cedeno," general manager Jim Hendry said. "But he's got to earn his way back. ... There's going to be enough playing time for a lot of people."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.