Chicago White Sox: Adam LaRoche signing is a good move


Sep 9, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) runs to first base during the seventh inning inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated against the Atlanta Braves 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Being that the Chicago White Sox have reportedly signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal, I like it. In fact, I like it a lot after really thinking about the contract.

Sep 20, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) and pitcher Chris Sale (49) hug before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The contract length of two years is perfect for a player like LaRoche who is 35 years old, but still has some power and consistency in his bat. Also like I’ve written before, Jose Abreu having protection in the lineup was a top priority for the team on the South Side this offseason.

Here are the numbers from Abreu with the protection he had in the order for his rookie season, a season where he was the BBWAA and Sporting News Rookie of the Year for the American League.

JOSE ABREU. 1B. Jose Abreu batted .317 in 2014, where he was the 2014 BBWAA and Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year. Abreu finished with 36 home runs and 35 doubles. He also had 107 RBIs, and led the majors in slugging percentage at .581.. First Base/Designated Hitter. Chicago White Sox

Here is what LaRoche did as a member of the Washington Nationals last season.

ADAM LAROCHE. 1B. Adam LaRoche signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox. While on the Washington Nationals last season, LaRoche batted .259 with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs. He also walked 82 times.. First Base/Designated Hitter. Chicago White Sox

I believe both players will be able to have even better numbers in ’15.

CBS Sports wrote about LaRoche and how he is a good fit for the White Sox at US Cellular Field, a friendly park for power hitters. In an article by Mike Axisa, he said the following:

"“LaRoche moves from a neutral home ballpark (doesn’t favor hitters or pitchers) to one that favors hitters. Specifically, Nationals Park had a 95 Park Factor for lefty home runs in 2014 according to FanGraphs, meaning the park suppressed homers by left-handed hitters by about 5 percent. US Cellular Field had a 106 Park Factor for lefty homers. That’s a swing of 11 percentage points in LaRoche’s favor.”"

If we think about it, the White Sox top five batters in their order could be really exciting to watch in ’15, with the potential batting order being:

• Adam Eaton (.300, 26 doubles)
• Alexei Ramirez (.273, 74 RBIs)
• Jose Abreu (.317, 35 doubles, 36 home runs, 107 RBIs)
• Adam LaRoche (.259, 26 home runs)
• Avisail Garcia (.244, 29 RBIs in 46 games)

That is a dangerous batting order, and the White Sox still haven’t addressed what they will be doing in left field, which could mean another potential strong bat to the lineup.

There is hope for the White Sox in ’15, and they know they have to be able to compete with the likes of the Detroit Tigers (AL Central champions), Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians, all teams who had winning records in ’14. The Royals are the reigning AL Champions and were one win away from being champions of baseball.

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Looking at some of the more technical numbers of LaRoche, he brings a WAR (wins above replacement) of 2.2. Compare that to what former DH Adam Dunn brought the White Sox that past four seasons with WAR’s of -2.9, 1.4, -0.3 and 0.3, LaRoche’s WAR is a nice jump in terms of production for the White Sox order at either DH or first base.

Dunn in his four seasons with the White Sox batted .201 with 278 RBIs and and 106 home runs, which home runs and RBIs are the two categories most important for when speaking about Dunn and the DH spot.

In that same time frame of LaRoche, his past four seasons (all with the Nationals) have seen him hit for an average of .249 with 269 RBIs and 82 home runs.

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LaRoche has 414 strikeouts the past four seasons, and compared to the former DH, Dunn who totaled 720 strikeouts. That my friends is a big change, and LaRoche brings a potential of giving the White Sox more opportunities of batting in more runners.

Who knows, maybe the White Sox will bring in another batter this offseason to improve the void that is currently known as the left field position. I think I would rather them to concentrate on adding to the bullpen a little more to go with the addition this week of LHP Zach Duke, who signed a three-year, $15 million contract this week.

This is a fun time of the offseason, and the White Sox are at least making changes, and this signing of LaRoche is a welcome change to the White Sox in my book.

Let us know your thoughts on the LaRoche signing.