I absolutely loved Jody Gerut. He came out of the minors with very little hype around him, becoming a starter in 2003. This was the official beginning of the ‘rebuild’ era. Gerut took over a few weeks in for Karim Garcia (hold on to your butts) and ended up having a great rookie year.
He fell short of winning the Rookie of the Year award, losing out to Angel Berroa (Who? Exactly). He finished fourth, behind Hideki Matsui and Rocco Baldelli. Berroa was seen as a controversial choice, and Matsui was anything but a rookie, having played for a decade professionally in Japan. So in a lot of fans’ eyes, the only two players who even deserved the award were Gerut and Baldelli.
Gerut finished the 2003 season with a batting average of .279, with 22 home runs, 33 doubles, 75 RBI’s, and an OPS of .830.
Gerut came into the 2004 season with all sorts of pomp and circumstance. The media and the fanbase expected Gerut to take a giant leap forward in 2004, and help the team fill the gap left by Jim Thome in free agency. Names like Gerut, Coco Crips, Grady Sizemore, and Travis Hafner were expected to carry the offense and three of them did. Gerut instead would regress, and by 2005 had lost his starting spot to unexpected highlight Casey Blake. Gerut would then spend the rest of his career bouncing around the NL Central and San Diego before calling it quits at 33 years old.