28 May 2008

Looking for a Deal: Andy LaRoche

This is just a short aside from Stotle's draft scouting reports. Yesterday it was reported:
With rookie Blake DeWitt looking as if he has solidified his place as the Dodgers' starting third baseman, Andy LaRoche has started playing first base for triple-A Las Vegas as part of a plan to increase the ways he can help the big league club.
Now, this is a major misuse of talent. LaRoche should be starting somewhere, but with the Dodgers fully employing Blake DeWitt, James Loney, and having no DH . . . they are turning LaRoche into a utility player. This should be something to exploit. Andy has a career minor league line of 294/382/520. Last year his MLE was 265/325/439. This year he is 24 and carrying a 268/481/451 AAA line with 33 BB and 8 Ks. Pretty impressive.

Dodgers Weaknesses

Second Base
The most apparent weakness the Dodgers have is at second base. Jeff Kent is playing like a pickup truck ran over him. His line is 242/287/373. Brian Roberts would be an easy fit and an easy way to get LaRoche. The problem is that we are above .500 and not too far back from the Wild Card. As baseball goes, you typically do not trade your best players at this time. Sadly, this would make us better. We could probably get a second or third player in addition to LaRoche with Roberts alone.

With the poor play of Juan Pierre (284/350/314) and the pathetic play of Andruw Jones (165/273/271), outfield is a big need for the Dodgers. They just don't have anyone to move around. We should not take on Jones or Pierre is any situation and we really do not have a CF to offer them to begin with. Payton is worth about the same as Pierre performance-wise . . . so this is not really an area to exploit either.

Relief Pitching
With Scott Proctor being his normal awful self and Cory Wade pitching way over his head, Chan Ho Park is the only effective right handed reliever outside of their closer Takashi Saito. This smells ripe for an upgrade. Bradford is currently throwing a 2.70 era over 17 IP, which is actually overestimating his ability. His era should be about 3.50 or 4.00. He has been somewhat lucky, but he is definitely a good pitcher who would shore up a good LA Dodgers bullpen. Losing Bradford would probably mean promoting Safarte's role and bringing up an arm (i.e. Aquino, McCrory, Yan, or Cherry). It shouldn't hurt the bullpen much.

The Dodgers bench is also rather weak. Chin-Lung Hu is their SS of the future, but is incredibly overmatched at the plate. He is like Luis Hernandez except he is actually playing great defense. With Andruw Jones' injury, they are also short of players who can take a game or two in centerfield. Pierre is a sort of iron man himself, but it would give the Dodgers greater flexibility to have another option out there. Freddie Bynum would fit perfectly for them. He could back up Furcal and Kent in the infield as well as Pierre in center. He has speed needed for a late inning pinch runner and some power to capitalize on. Losing Bynum won't be difficult to swallow as Cintron can play SS and Luis Hernandez can back up the middle infield with Cintron. We have Payton to handle backup OF duties. LaRoche would take Bynum's spot on the roster.

Orioles get:
Dodgers get:

We may need to add a mid-tier prospect to even things out.

LaRoche's Role

LaRoche would play third base three or four times a week. Mora can take a day off once a week to let LaRoche play. Huff can take a day off with Mora at DH. Millar can take a day off with Huff at 1B and Mora at DH. Something like that could work out and give LaRoche about 200-250 plate appearances this year. Next year would depend on how we handle Mora and if we sign Teixeira. If we keep Mora and do not sign Teixeira, we can play Huff at first and split Mora and LaRoche between DH and 3B. If we keep Mora and sign Teixeira, then we need to play musical chairs with Huff, Mora, and LaRoche at DH and 3B. I have a feeling that LaRoche can get most of those at bats.


Brooks said...

Your proposed trade is downright robbery. If we could get a top tier prospect for an overpaid aging reliever and Boom Boom Bynum I'll ______ (fill in the blank with something stupid).

I agree we should target LaRoche and I'd be willing to give up a decent chunk of change.

Jon Shepherd said...

Yeah, we'd have to throw someone like Liz and Costanzo in. I think where I was coming from is that they are really just screwing around with LaRoche.

Brooks said...

How cool would it be to have no place to put a .970 OPS hitter in the minors?

I wish the O's were so loaded they could dick around with prospects like that.

If Costanzo was the add in I would still think it's robbery, with Liz we're approaching fairness.

Jon Shepherd said...

I know, I know . . . I think I like to low ball too much.

Maybe Bradford, Reimold, and Liz. I'd hate to give up on Reimold, but I think LaRoche is legit.