Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Wednesday Five: Reactions to the LaRoche trade

Today the Red Sox made news by getting Adam LaRoche from the Pirates for a couple of minor leaguers

My five reactions to this are:

1) Which Pirates player will be openly critical of the next lopsided trade?

When Nate McLouth got traded in June, Adam LaRoche was highly vocal, questioning management's motives over trading him while the team still had a fighting chance (they were 6 1/2 games behind at the time).......i'm pretty sure if another starter got traded (i.e. Sanchez, Wilson, etc)...LaRoche probably would have vented some frustration over the trade (even though they are 10 games under .500 ...they are still only 8 1/2 out.....) who picks up this role for the Pirates? well does it matter? they obviously didn't get the memo that even if your a small-market team you can still contend if you have smart enough people running the show

2) Where is Adam LaRoche going to get his At-Bats?

On this angle, its tough to see where the trade makes sense for the Sox. Likely, Laroche would be getting his ABs from either 1st or DH..1st base seems out of the question since Kevin Youkilis is putting up better numbers than LaRoche (.303/.418/.574 150 OPS+ for Youk vs. .247/.329/.441) or DH where David Ortiz has struggled this year to .224/.313/.413 84 OPS+ but it's unlikely he'd lose a lot of playing time since Big Papi is still a more imposing and intimidating hitter than LaRoche, even though Ortiz is having a down year. Pretty much, gut instinct says LaRoche is the odd man out from this angle.

3) If something happens with Youkilis and/or Ortiz and they need him to start....this trade is going to look very good for the Red Sox....

For much of his career Adam LaRoche the 1st half hitter and Adam LaRoche the second half hitter have been two different entities... the 1st half hitter hits 12% below the league average....the second half version has an 118 OPS+ for the second half in his career (which is equivalent to what players such as Carlos Lee, Paul Konerko have done in their careers)

Point being the Sox get to skip out on the mediocre version of LaRoche and are likely to get the effective second-half version of LaRoche for the stretch the last time the Sox got a Pirates player at the deadline (Jason Bay) things turned out pretty good for them

4) This trade is but an example of why the Sox win consistently

While the Red Sox were not in urgent need of a 1b/DH type, obviouslly they felt he could improve their team and help them between now and the end of October...while that may be in a reduced role.....he can hit and has demonstrated the ability to hit well in the post-season (albeit in a small 30 AB sample size .320/.433/.640

Pretty much, the Red Sox spent money to improve a strong (albeit struggling) team.......

5) It is also an example of why the Pirates never win consistently

The way the Pirates have been un-loading stars this year and other years explains why they consistently lose 90+ games a year. Even this year with nobody taking the NL Central by the horns and the Pirates still being less than 10 games out....the way they are trading players it is clear they are still in the middle of a perpetual rebuilding cycle......but they at least they can hang their head on taking 2 out of 3 from the Brewers (but then again who hasn't taken 2 out of 3 from the Brewers)

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