Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox
The Red Sox traded for Adam LaRoche yesterday in a move that, on its own, underwhelms given Boston's potential to get something big done and the fierce competition they are sure to face for a playoff spot. But the trade deadline is still a week away.
LaRoche makes sense for the Red Sox because Mike Lowell is hobbled and aging quickly. He is no longer the fielder he once was and while he still can swing the bat a little bit, he can no longer move. He might be Major League Baseball's slowest baserunner and his ability to get to balls laterally has diminished severely. He has also demonstrated a more drastic platoon split of late, continuing to hit lefties nicely while struggling against right-handers.
Here's why the Red Sox did the deal. LaRoche is a career .269/.338/.486 hitter whom they acquired for two players that do not figure into their future plans. He has hit .296/.357/.544 in the 2nd Half for his career (he slugged .613 in the '08 2nd half). He also hits well against right-handers, posting a .275/.347/.500 clip for his career. All of this sets up a tidy straight-up platoon with Lowell, getting LaRoche in there when he is positioned to succeed and offering the gimpy Lowell much-needed regular rest. Kevin Youkilis's ability to play third affords Boston this kind of flexibility.