Adam LaRoche

He’s baaaaaack! I don’t know if any Braves position player in the last nineteen years has suffered as much fan abuse as LaRoche. Maybe Blauser, over a longer period of time. There have been guys who were more hated, but they didn’t last long. LaRoche’s problems were twofold. First, he is, even when he is taking his ADD medication… I’ll say “laid-back”. Second, he isn’t Fred McGriff or Andres Galarraga. Of course, he looks a lot better when compared to Scott Thorman and Casey Kotchman.

Adam was a guy who rose through the system steadily, was never an elite prospect, but never really had a bad year. He had a tendency to need adjustment periods between levels. He’s a bit unusual, especially for someone who wasn’t a great prospect, in that he was given a starting job (actually, the lefthanded half of a platoon) straight out of spring training with no prior major league experience. He was pretty terrible when he started out in 2004, but played well in the second half. I thought it was the adjustment period again, but it turns out he’s just a second-half player.

Since being traded for Mike Gonzalez (after I’d already done a writeup — oh, I remember, Schuerholz) he did his thing in Pittsburgh for a couple of years. He didn’t play too well in 2007, basically back to his 2004-05 level. But he played better in 2008, almost as well as he did in 2006. This season, he’s slumped, but a lot of that appears to me to be luck, some batted balls that didn’t find holes. The Braves reacquired him in the hopes that he’d have another big second half for them.

He isn’t really interchangeable with Kotchman. He has more power, while Casey walks more and has a better glove. Adam throws better, but there’s not much more irrelevant than a first baseman’s throwing arm. Both are terribly slow.

Adam LaRoche Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com

This is the game thread, too.

91 thoughts on “Adam LaRoche”

  1. Previous thread (posted exact instant seemingly this thread was):

    Dan, KJ was never good when it matters. He was usually great when there was little pressure like in early of the season or when we were out of the race.

    Again, that seems a tad unfair.

    Looking at Johnson’s 2008 numbers, his hot streak months were May and September.

    I know the team was well out of it in September, but they weren’t in May. Do May games not count the same in the standings?

    Why is it that any hitter’s good hitting only counts if the team is in contention (not out of it or running away with the division) and it has to be July-September too?

  2. @1 If baseball games are only played in May and September last year, then KJ would be a MVP candidate. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. What’s the good of him if he only shows up for two of the six months?

  3. I know nobody cares and it seems like bragging… but yesterday was the highest-traffic day in Braves Journal history, 7,703 hits. It capped the highest-traffic month, 143,090.

  4. I know nobody cares and it seems like bragging… but yesterday was the highest-traffic day in Braves Journal history, 7,703 hits. It capped the highest-traffic month, 143,090.

    LaRoche Fever! Catch It!

  5. Let’s see if I got this right. Basically, the Marlins traded Jo Jo Reyes for Nick Johnson without a salary.

    Their “offensive bump” will be the difference between Nick Johnson and Bonifacio (250 to 300 OPS points).

    We traded Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche. We are still paying the same salary. We might get a little more slugging.

    Do you think the Nats (Kasten?) have it in for the Braves and traded that favorably in division to make sure we couldn’t climb over the Marlins (which their trade for Johnson certainly seems to do). If Wren wasn’t in on this, he really is misreading value.

    And, I am not sure that if Kotchman finished this year where he is that you non tender him. In arb he will get 5 million or so for 2010. You have a top prospect at AA who just got to that level. He might be ready in April, might want to hold him for June, or might be better for 2011 (depending on what happens).

    The only way this makes sense is if they want to move Chipper to first.

    And if you offer arb to LaRoche, then you pay 2 or 3 million more for next year to a 1B who everybody acknowledges is barely better than Kotchman, all things considered.

    Where are the thought and logic.

    The problem with this deal is not that LaRoche is so bad or that Kotchman is o.k. It is that it seems disconnected from what is going on with the team and, more importantly, a better upgrade was gotten by an in division foe for almost nothing.

  6. Let’s see if I got this right. Basically, the Marlins traded Jo Jo Reyes for Nick Johnson without a salary.

    The Marlins have like 20% of the budget of the Mets and Braves and have put together a better team than either. It shouldn’t surprise when they do something smart.

    I’m a fan of Baltimore. I lived there for three years and find it to be very underrated. What I really enjoyed was the convenience of being able to take a train to major cities nearby — DC, Philly, NYC.

    LA is driving distance from San Diego and Vegas (outstanding vacations spots), Big Bear and Mammoth (quality skiing resorts). I still think I win, but then again I struggle to understand why anyone would want to visit Philly or DC. As you say, to each his own.

  7. Besides being cheap, what’s the value of Kotchman? The Braves can’t afford to have a first baseman who can not hit homerun unless we have a Chipper-Andruw-Sheffied-in-their-prime outfield. Kotchman is not even at league average for his position…may as well trade him away sooner rather than later.

  8. hey at least RF isnt a problem anymore, since the Francouer trade our RF’s are 15 for 68 (.220 avg) with 1 HR

  9. back in about ’77 i traded a not-so-good ford truck to a friend for a not-so-good chevy truck………..no particular reason, we just did it………..the trade worked out ok for a couple weeks and then the trouble started. finally, i declared the chevy an intolerable painintheass and the ford caught itself on fire and died an ugly roadside death a few days later. thats about what i expect from this trade.

  10. That sounds more like the Francoeur-Church trade to me — two things that suck, but you can’t just throw away, so you find someone else who has something that sucks but he can’t just throw away, and you swap them. There’s no attachment, so you feel free to get rid of the new thing.

  11. I have a friend who sold his old 1986 Bonneville (we’re only 21, by the way) for a solid amount of money to one of his brother’s friends. 2 months later the engine essentially blew up and that girl was out 1500 or so dollars and didn’t have a car.

    I don’t think this can be compared to a trade, its just another car story.

  12. The Braves wanted more homerun power and they wanted to get Kotchman off the roster so they would have the option of playing Prado or Freeman there next year. Hence the Kotchman-for-Laroche trade. Pretty straightforward. Laroche is sort of like Escobar. He’ll do a few things every year that make you scratch your head, but on the whole he is a pretty solid player. Wren probably could have gotten Adrian Gonzalez instead but he didn’t want to endure the tidal wave of crying from people who haven’t looked at how mediocre the players traded for Teixeira have been in the majors.

  13. Awesome, we got Huckleberry Hound back….

    That’s our big trade deadline move? Really?

  14. Wren probably could have gotten Adrian Gonzalez instead

    I don’t thing Adrian Gonzalez would have been available for Casey Kotchman. I’m sure he would have been available for the right offer, but “the right offer” would have been more than we gave up for Teixeira. He’s an all-star player, making less than $1 million (and thus affordable, even to the Padres – no salary dump), and under team control for a couple more years. Why would the Padres trade him for anything less than a boatload of cheap talent?

    Every team asked after him, it sounds like. And yet, he wasn’t traded.

  15. Never left, just haven’t had much to say. And I’ve been distracted by my Timberwolves, lots of things going on with them.

    Seriously though why would we want Huck back? I guess I can live with it if we aren’t planning on keeping him next year but if he starts the first half next season…

  16. Mac,

    I’m not sure how much better Laroche is than Kotchman. How much better do you think he is?

  17. @4–good as long as some of the blockheads from DOB’s blog don’t migrate over here

  18. DOB has some of the worst posters and comments that Ive ever seen. I scroll from time to time to look for some updates. Like this one, Carroll has Laroche 5th and Diaz 6th in the lineup today

  19. Why does it take two reporters to follow a team and post a blog for, what, 6 months out of the year?

    Any idea what Carroll or DOB make?

  20. Tiger224-

    If there were only one writer, they would have to get one day off every two weeks like the team does. Except they don’t get paid $2 million a year to do that.

  21. well Norton survived, Barbaro back to AAA. What about Chris Burke? He cant be worse than Diory can he?

  22. I can’t think about Adam Laroche without thinking about that Nick Johnson play back in 2006 or whenever that was.

  23. Options are a yearly thing — you can send Diory up and down all you want within a year, it’s just one option. If you call up Burke and want to send him back down, he would have to go through waivers.

  24. csg#19……the ford in question was a 1971 model. that was back when the only people driving trucks were people who needed them. i’m pretty sure leather seats weren’t an option.

  25. Braves.com says today’s game is nationally broadcast on FOX… I see Yankees… wonderful

  26. More good umpiring, hooray… At least that umpire seemed to be willing to admit he might have made a mistake.

  27. looks like lowe has a great slider today. maybe well get another good start from him. not that it matters with randy “koufax” wolf on the mound.

    would a non-handicapped left fielder have gotten that matt kemp “hit”?

  28. #40 – I was comparing Laroche and Kotchman to the trucks there. I used the leather reference to talk about his glove at 1st

  29. That just wasn’t a strike. It was caught a strike, but it didn’t cross the plate. Nice job with the freeze-frame by Fox to insinuate that it was a strike, though.

  30. This game is looking representative of the Braves’ season so far… lots of wasted opportunities.

    Thank goodness Chipper managed to tie it. Too bad Ethier just un-tied it.

  31. Personally, I think the LaRoche/Kotchman trade is a potential contract dump. As in LaRoche is about to be a free agent. either he gets resigned or the Braves will receive draft picks in return.

    It has as much to do with payroll as the roster and offense.

    The other telling thing about the trade is that it is getting almost no play nationally. Nobody outside Braves nation cares which is rather embarrassing.

    In fact, I just happened to be watching the ML baseball channel when the trade went down and those guys were just ridiculing the trade due to the whole LaRoche to Texiera to kotchman back to laRoche angle.

  32. Pee Wee and I have planned to go to Tuesday’s game in Rome and the local fishwrap is now reporting that Infante will be here playing a rehab game that night. Would rather have Hudson.

  33. Right field has been a complete disaster for Atlanta….from Frency to this Diaz/Church platoon.

  34. Consecutive RBI singles by Diory and Emperor Norton. When did this game move to the Twilight Zone?

  35. On the subject of the LaRoche trade, I don’t mind it. I wasn’t that big a fan of Kotchman in the first place. Adam’s looking good today, reaching all three times so far.

    Snitker almost got him rung up though… the throw was up the line and in time, the catcher didn’t handle it though.

  36. How about we let Norton start and finish his Braves career with a pitch-hit RBI? Now is the time to release him!

  37. Norton was on deck, running through the sign was the right call.

    Heck, attempting to steal third and home would have been OK since Diory was at the plate.

  38. i think Lowe has 25 strikes in his first 30 pitches or something like that, then Jo Jo or Bennett must have called with some advice

  39. Griffey Jr. 14 2B, 10 HR, 30 RBI, 44 BB, 46 SO, .216/.326/.383, 90 OPS+
    ACHE 19 2B, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 17 BB, 42 SO, .297/.330/.459, 108 OPS+

    So, I think we won this move.

  40. Got to be at the game tonight, it was great to see a good return by LaRoche and WOW, that play that Nate made was amazing… I didn’t think he had a shot.

  41. Anyone I’ve ever known who met Braves players in the ’90s recalled Blauser as a first-class douche.

  42. Dale Murphy is a Mormon. I’ve heard stories about things Blauser would do to Murphy that were strictly against his religion. I don’t care who you are, that’s some major douchebaggery.

  43. Mac,
    One slight correction on your writeup of LaRoche. You said that Kotchman walks more. LaRoche has actually walked at a slightly higher rate this year (42/346 compared to 32/298) and Laroche’s career walk rate is a little higher than Kotchman.

    I’m actually not too worked up about this deal one way or the other. The Braves are expecting a slightly more productive second half from Laroche than they would have gotten from Kotchman. The only odd thing is the extra year of contract that Kotchman has. Apparently they have a plan for next year – we’ll see.

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