The Chicago White Sox and Adam LaRoche have reportedly agreed to a two year, twenty five million dollar deal, according to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today.
The White Sox gave up Adam Dunn in a late season trade, who was a significant source of power, and Paul Konerko retired at the end of the season, which left a hole at either first base or the designated hitter spot. The Marlins had reportedly offered LaRoche a two year, twenty million dollar contract, but the White Sox provided a better offer.
U.S. Cellular Field is a significant improvement for LaRoche over Nationals Park, as it is eleven percent better for lefty power, according to Fangraphs’ Park Factors.
Adding LaRoche will give the White Sox a serious 3-4 punch, as he’ll hit next to AL Rookie of The Year Jose Abreu, who hit 36 home runs last year and posted a .317/.383/.581 line (169 OPS+). Adding that to LaRoche’s .259/.362/.455 (124 OPS+) line with 26 home runs for the Nationals last season, and the White Sox have a very good lineup.
The only possible worry for Chicago about LaRoche is his age. In all likelihood, he has peaked and is on the decline. Even so, two years and twenty five million is around what someone with LaRoche’s stats should command. Supposedly, this could be the beginning of a win-now offseason for the White Sox, as they are players in the race for a couple other major free agents including Jason Hammel and they could be exploring trading for Miguel Montero. “The only message we want to send at the end of the day is when our roster is complete, that people can dream again,” Kenny Williams, executive vice president said.
Washington was expected to let LaRoche go after Ryan Zimmerman proved he needed to be moved from third to first and after Anthony Rendon proved himself as an All-Star caliber third baseman.