Red Sox Acquire Adam LaRoche, Fill Apparent Need For Tall Frustrating Dude

The Pirates dealt Adam LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox for 22-year-old AA shortstop Argenis Diaz and 20-year-old single-A RHP Hunter Strickland. The Pirates also receive the added bonus of not having to pay the remaining $3 mil on LaRoche’s contract this season, and the added added bonus of not having to start Adam LaRoche ever again.

LaRoche’s April struggles in ’07 and ’08 led to a more dubious fan reputation than he probably deserved (he hit a mathematically impossible negative a million homers in April ’08), which wasn’t helped by fans’ initial enthusiasm for his arrival coming off a 32-homer career year in Atlanta, but LaRoche was still never better than an average offensive first baseman in Pittsburgh and frequently less than average, and with his UFA offseason pending, a move seemed pretty inevitable. Over the past four weeks, LaRoche has really been putting the cover back onto the ball, posting a pitcher-like .185 / .214 / .272, 1 HR in 84 PA, which should be the perfect spoonful of sugar to help fans swallow this trade without a problem, as if they would’ve had a problem to begin with.

Diaz and Strickland were ranked the #29 and #38 prospects in the Boston farm system according to SoxProspects.com, which may or may not be reliable but has a really cool layout, so I trust it. Both project as fringe major leaguers at best, Diaz being a fieldy, no-hit shortstop and Strickland a big, possible backend rotation guy with a low-90s heater, but combined with the $3 mil in LaRoche savings, the added playing time for Jones / Young / Pearce / Moss / Milledge, and me never again having to root for LaRoche to strike out with men on base so we avoid a double play, I have no problems with this trade.

Also, I know the budgets are “totally separate,” but with yet another $3 mil shaved off the already-paltry major league payroll, the Bucs are gonna look reeeeeally bad if they don’t sign Miguel Sano and some of these higher-upside draft picks in the next month.

And for an added laugh, check out the list of Pirates home run leaders without Adam LaRoche. Hehehe.

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