Mark DeRosa’s vocal role on the 2012 Nats — both in the clubhouse and with the media — was perhaps larger than his baseball role might have suggested.

He’s a free agent now, and he’s still offering opinions on the season that was. This week, the veteran talked to Jim Duquette and Jim Memolo on SiriusXM’s MLB Network. And when Duquette asked “what one piece…the Nationals need to add to get themselves on to the next level, to get to the World Series,” well….

“Stephen Strasburg!” DeRosa said with a laugh. “That was easy!”

But then he turned more serious.

“I really do believe if we have him at full strength going — and next year they will — I just think that rotation would’ve lengthened out so much to the point where it would have been tough for a team to stay with us in a seven-game series,” DeRosa said. “Just the way the matchups would have fell down.

“I played out in San Francisco with Matt Cain for two years — and he’s finally getting the national exposure that he deserves — [and] I think there’s a guy in Washington in Jordan Zimmermann that’s eerily similar to what Matt’s able to do. So I think the more polished he gets going up against other guys’ number three it makes it difficult.”

Memolo than brought up the anonymous player who told Ken Rosenthal the Nats would have won both playoff games in St. Louis had Strasburg been pitching.

“How did it really play out with you guys?” Memolo asked. “Understanding what the organization was trying to do, while at the same time, it’s difficult not just to get to that point but maybe to ever have another chance at winning a World Series?”

“Well, you know, that was the thing for me,” DeRosa said. “You never know. This game, it’s so funny. The year, in 2010, we won the World Series – I’ve been lucky enough to go to the postseason almost 10 or 11 times, and I wouldn’t say that 2010 team was better than half of the teams I went to that got knocked out in the first round. 

“So it’s just a matter of getting there, getting hot at the right time,” he concluded. “It was something we knew coming out of spring training, so when it happened it was very disappointing. But guys, they have short memories, man. We just kinda, you grind with who you’ve got. So it was just a situation where we still felt we were capable of winning the whole thing.”