It's been a few days since I've gotten to post, but since then the big news of the week has been the trade of Adam Laroche to the Boston Red Sox. The Bucs received shortstop prospect Argenis Diaz and pitcher Hunter Strickland. The report on Diaz is his glove is MLB ready, but his bat isn't. Did we just trade for Jack Wilson? Strickland's fastball averages 90-92 and throws strikes. Neither is considered a top notch prospect, but we weren't going to get top notch guys in return for Laroche.
Diaz will report to AAA Indianapolis and Strickland will report to A West Virginia. Both guys are decent prospects, but getting two guys with a pulse seems to be a fair return for Laroche, who has been struggling big time.
Unlike most of you, I was not an Adam Laroche hater. Unlike everyone else, I knew what to expect out of the older Laroche when we acquired him. I expected a .270 hitter that would hit 25 homers and drive in 80 runs a season. That's exactly what he gave the Bucs every season. Was his prolonged slumps frustrating? Absolutely, but I was never disappointed in Laroche.
When the trade was made with Atlanta to acquire Laroche, most people felt we were getting a franchise saver. That just simply wasn't going to be the case. Laroche just isn't the type of player to bat cleanup and carry an offense. He is, however; a nice player and will do fine in a lineup where he is surrounded by talent and has no pressure on him to produce. To be fair, Laroche really didn't have a ton of protection during his stint as a Bucco.
He should see a ton of fastballs in the Red Sox lineup and should do fine. I feel the short porch in right field at PNC Park actually hurt him when he was struggling. It gave him a target he could aim for and in result he rolled over on alot of balls. In Fenway, he should be able to get back to being a gap to gap type hitter. The Red Sox also get a fantastic defensive first baseman in Laroche. Despite his struggles at the plate, Adam never took his problems into the field with him.
The Bucs didn't send any money to Boston in the deal. The money may have helped bring back better prospects in return, but a team like the Red Sox isn't worried about that. The Bucs save $3 mil for two months of Laroche. That cash can be used for a couple of things. First, they can use the $3 mil to sign their over slotted draft picks that are left. If they do that, I am fine with that.
The other thing they can do is apply the $3 mil saved and use that in a Wilson or Sanchez deal. Send the team some of the money and maybe up the return in the trade. I also am fine with them doing that.
While everything pointed to Garrett Jones becoming the everyday first baseman and Lastings Milledge taking over in left field, the short term plan is for Steve Pearce to get a full time look at first base. This makes sense also. They have to eventually give Pearce a chance, just to see what he has. Playing his natural position, he should be more comfortable both in the field and at the plate. With the team not going any where this season, there is no rush to get Milledge to the big league club.
- The Bucs have been playing pretty good ball since the all-star break. They are still 10 games under, but they won consecutive series against the Giants and Brewers at home and have a chance to take series for Arizona and the Giants on the road.
-Have you noticed how bad, Freddy Sanchez has been since the initial trade rumors started. That's being kind actually. He has flat out sucked. He has tanked plays in the field almost every single game, and the bat just hasn't been there either. Has the rumors gotten to him mentally? Go ahead Neil, show him the door. I actually am getting more comfortable every day with the fact of Delwyn Young playing second.
-Interesting time for Jack and Freddy to be HURTING. Wouldn't you agree?
-Ryan Doumit is starting to come around offensively. Good to see. I've heard his name in a couple rumors, but I've heard the asking price would be very high.
- I can't help but keep liking Jones. He has some serious power and what impresses me the most is his ability to hit the ball out the other way. Here is to hoping he keeps it up. If there was ever a team that needs to find a gem like Jones, it's the Bucs. The question must be asked though, is he going to be a legit every day player with power, or will be be the next Chad Hermansen, Adam Hyzdu, Kevin Young or, my favorite, "Mr. March" Mark Johnson.
-Joel Hanrahan has been doing a nice job since he has come over. He had an ERA at nearly 8.50 when the Bucs acquired him and has it down to around 6.70 already. He has great stuff. I would just like to see him work off the fastball a little more and not get to 3 ball counts with every batter.
-Pearce hasn't looked bad in his first couple starts at first base. He is definitely more comfortable. he made a fantastic diving play the other night and has hit in each game. Only problem is Jones doesn't look so great defensively in the outfield.