The Pittsburgh Pirates are at it again.
And, this time it’s Adam LaRoche leaving the Buccos who have traded five starters since last July. And, it looks like the Pirates aren’t done. Expect middle infielders Freddy Sanchez and disgruntled Jack Wilson to be next to go.
Failure to Launch
LaRoche and his $7.05 million annual salary moves to Boston. Pittsburgh is beginning to resemble a Red Sox farm team after the Sox plucked all star Jason Bay from the Pirates last season.
LaRoche was anticipated to be the left-handed power hitter that the Pirates needed. Playing along side brother and third baseman Andy LaRoche, Adam never put up the numbers that Pittsburgh had hoped. He’s in a bad slump now, hitting just .109 since July 4. On the year, he’s hitting .247 with 12 homers and 40 RBI.
Pirates Get More Prospects
It doesn’t look like the Pirates got any immediate help from dealing LaRoche. Shortstop Argenis Diaz moves in from Double-A Portland. Diaz is a slap hitter who’s batting .253 with 24 RBI, and 7 steals on the minor league season. Diaz has never been seen as a major prospect.
The Pirates also picked up right-handed starting pitcher Hunter Strickland from Single-A Greenville. BallparkBob saw Strickland in a Greenville uniform just last week when he attended the Drive’s game in Hagerstown to see his former Chester County Crawdads’ player, and Strickland teammate, Pete Hissey play.
LaRoche’s Role for the Sox
Adam LaRoche has been a very streaky hitter over his career. The good news is that the Red Sox can use him at first base or designated hitter when he’s streaking in the right direction. He also can give third baseman Mike Lowell a breather by Kevin Youkilis moving over to the hot corner.
That being said, our fantasy baseball advice is that LaRoche will likely not get enough at bats to be a pickup for your fantasy baseball team unless you play in the deepest of fantasy baseball leagues. Of course, if David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, or Mike Lowell go down with injury, LaRoche could be a solid short term pickup.
Pearce Now Pirates’ First (Base) Mate
To replace LaRoche, the Pirates called up Steve Pearce and Pearce got the starting nod Thursday night as the Pirates traveled to Arizona. Pearce has been in the bigs for each of the past three seasons and sports a .254 average with 4 homers and 21 RBI in 189 AB’s. Pearce is 5′ 11″ and weighs 215 so he should hae some pop.
“Steve Pearce has been doing very well in Triple-A,” said Pirates’ manager John Russell. “We’d like to give him a look. I think it’s time we give Steve some at bats and see how he goes with it.
Pearce has hit .367 in his last 11 games, but he remains an experiment and is not a first baseman that you need get too excited about for your fantasy baseball team at this point. Let’s wait and see how he does.
Keeping Up with the Jones’s
The biggest surprise of the Pirates decision is that Lastings Milledge was expected to be the guy called up. The 24-year-old Milledge remains tearing up the minors at Indianapolis following a 24 stolen base season last year for the Nationals.
By using Milledge in the outfield, it would have allowed hot hitting Garrett Jones to move to his natural spot at first base. Jones has 9 homeruns, and amazingly only 11 RBI, in his 17 games played for the Pirates this year. Jones, 28, had a long journey to the bigs and got 77 AB’s for the Twins in 2007. This year, Jones is .313/9/11/3 in just his first 67 AB’s. Those are some impressive stats.
If Garrett Jones is available in your fantasy baseball league, he is the man you should be looking to add to your roster. Garrett Jones is red hot.