Free Agent Stock Watch: Adam LaRoche

Earlier in the summer, Adam LaRoche and the Diamondbacks had preliminary discussions about an extension, but that was before the D’Backs hired current GM Kevin Towers. It’s still possible that the D’Backs work out an extension with LaRoche under Towers, but it seems more likely that LaRoche will hit free agency (assuming both sides don’t exercise his $7.5MM mutual option for 2011). Here’s the outlook for LaRoche this offseason:

The Pros

  • He’s a consistently productive hitter, and has now combined 20 or more homers with an OPS of at least .775 in all seven of the seasons he’s played since becoming a starter.
  • LaRoche has generally stayed healthy, averaging 145 games per season in that seven-year stretch.
  • As a likely Type B free agent, he won’t cost a draft pick.
  • He doesn’t turn 31 until November, so his skills probably aren’t about to fade.

The Cons

  • Though he has traditionally been a strong second half player, LaRoche is slumping badly and has just three extra base hits this month.
  • He’ll join a group of free agent first basemen that includes Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee and Lyle Overbay. Teams looking for first basemen will have lots of selection this winter.
  • LaRoche drew limited interest from other clubs when he cleared waivers this summer.

The Verdict

LaRoche signed for $6MM last year after hitting .277/.355/.488 with 25 homers. He now has a .260/.321/.460 line with 23 homers and a career high 93 RBI. The numbers are similar this year and the market remains flush with first basemen, so a similar one-year $6MM deal seems likely for LaRoche.

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