Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weak Trade

You all know the "big" news: the Red Sox traded for Pittsburgh first baseman Adam LaRoche. Woo. Hoo.

Look, it's not that I don't like LaRoche. As I said in my last post, he does address the recent problem Boston has had with right-handed pitching. He doesn't suck at first base. And he is a very hot player in the second half of the season.

All that said, I have two problems with this deal.

First, it doesn't address Boston's major problem: poor hitting in the leadoff spot. LaRoche is a back-of-the-lineup hitter, which is fine. But we still need someone who can lead off and get on base on a consistent basis.

Second, I don't like what we gave up.

LaRoche is a rental. A free agent at year's end, I'd be shocked if the Sox resigned him. In return for his limited service, the Sox surrendered pitcher Hunter Strickland and shortstop Argenis Diaz. Strickland plays for Single A Greenville and Diaz plays for the Sea Dogs.

Now, I don't care about Strickland. He's an okay pitcher. But I don't like seeing the Sox give up Diaz. I've been able to watch him play in Portland. He can play Gold Glove defense right now, though to be fair he has had his fair share of errors this year. If he improves his hitting, he could definitely be a major-league player. Then again, they do have those two guys from Cuba and the DR coming in, so maybe Diaz is expendable.

I do realize that we all like to over-value our own players and under-value the players from the 29 other teams. But I just think Diaz may be too high a price for a rented #6 hitter, regardless of who else is in the organization.

But my main concern is not addressing the leadoff problem. But who knows, maybe another deal is in the works.

On the bright side, this is a damn sight better than the trade for Eric Gagne, so we have that going for us. Which is nice.

Update (3:04 PM) - Yamacio Navarro was promoted from Single A Salem to Portland today to take Diaz's place. As much as I liked Diaz, Navarro could be even better. He's considered a shortstop but plays 2B, SS and 3B. He swings a much stronger bat than Diaz (.915 OPS in 23 games in Salem). He will be interesting to watch for the rest of 2009 in Portland.


Mark S. said...

Laroche's second half OPS the last 4 years is .938. Along with Chris Duncan two decent bats for the lineup.

Dave said...

Hi, Mark. Thanks for the comment.

I agree with you that LaRoche has a hot bat after the All-Star break. But his impact is mitigated by two factors.

First, he won't be a full-time least not for now. So if he is spelling Lowell, that means his bat isn't in there every game.

Second, and it's no fault of LaRoche's, is that he's not a leadoff hitter. And that is Boston's glaring weakness. I'm all for beefing up the back of the lineup, but that's a complementary move at best.

If there is another, bigger move for the Sox to improve their batting, then I love the LaRoche deal.

I like the move for Duncan. He has power and is only 28. He's seems to be injury-prone to some extent as far as pinched nerves and hernias go. But if that clears up, the Sox have themselves a utility OF/1B player who can swing the stick. Not a bad haul to get in return for Lugo...and paying his salary.