Andy LaRoche Rumors

Indians Sign Andy LaRoche

The Indians have signed Andy LaRoche to a minor league contract, the team announced (via Twitter). The deal includes an invitation to big league camp.

Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported over the weekend that the Indians were in talks with both LaRoche and Mike Cameron. While the Tribe missed out on Cameron, who agreed to sign a contract with the Nationals, they'll bring LaRoche into the fold to provide depth and injury insurance. GM Chris Antonetti said LaRoche will compete for a spot on the Major League roster, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter link).

LaRoche, 28, has posted a career slash line of just .226/.305/.337 in parts of five Major League seasons, including a .654 OPS in 104 plate appearances for Oakland in 2011. However, he was long considered a top prospect, having ranked among Baseball America's top 20 prior to both the 2006 and 2007 seasons.


Indians In Talks With Mike Cameron, Andy LaRoche

The Indians have had "serious talks" with Mike Cameron and have also talked to Andy LaRoche, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian confirms (via Twitter) that the Tribe have had discussions with both players and could sign them to minor league contracts.

Cameron, 38, saw a dip in production in 2011 with the Red Sox and Marlins, hitting .203/.285/.359 in 269 overall plate appearances. However, the Indians view him as an insurance policy for center field if Grady Sizemore continues to be plagued by health problems, according to Pluto.

The 28-year-old LaRoche, meanwhile, would likely just provide the organization depth at the Triple-A level. The former top prospect spent the past season with the Athletics, splitting time between the big league club and Triple-A Sacramento.

The Indians have made a handful of depth moves already this week, acquiring Aaron Cunningham from the Padres, and signing both Jose Lopez and Felix Pie to minor league deals.


22 Triple-A Players Elect Free Agency

A total of 22 players that finished the year in Triple-A elected free agency after the end of the regular season according to the transaction pages of the Pacific Coast and International Leagues. All but one of those 22 players (Matt Carson, formerly of the Rays) played in the big leagues this season. Here's the full list:

Dusty Brown (Pirates), Travis Buck (Indians), Armando Galarraga (D'Backs), Jay Gibbons (Dodgers), Edgar Gonzalez (Rockies), Steve Holm (Twins), Wil Ledezma (Blue Jays), Andy LaRoche (Athletics), Felipe Lopez (Brewers), Lastings Milledge (White Sox), Pat Misch (Mets), Pat Neshek (Padres), Mike O'Connor (Mets), Matt Palmer (Angels), Felix Pie (Orioles), Brad Snyder (Cubs), Brett Tomko (Rangers), Wyatt Toregas (Pirates), P.J. Walters (Blue Jays), Randy Williams (Red Sox), and Reggie Willits (Angels).



Athletics Notes: Weeks, Matsui, Anderson, Draft

Jemile Weeks collects walks just like his older brother Rickie, but while the elder Weeks hits for power, Jemile is more of a contact hitter, writes Fangraphs' Jack Moore in his analysis of the two Weeks brothers.  Jemile went 0-for-4 in his Major League debut last night for the A's, leading off and playing second base.

Here are some more items from Oakland, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle

  • "Hideki Matsui's future is cloudy" with the A's, but the veteran may get one more stint of regular playing time to see if he can turn around his disappointing season.  As Slusser notes, Matsui has been a better hitter in the second half of the season (a career .855 OPS after the All-Star break), but the team might not want to wait that long.  I'd suggest Oakland could probably trade Matsui to a contender for a low-profile prospect rather than release him for nothing.
  • Right-hander Graham Godfrey will make his Major League debut in a start against the White Sox on Friday.  The A's will have to make a 40-man roster move to make room for Godfrey and Slusser guesses the team will have to designate someone for assignment.  That is, unless, the A's have already gotten word that Brett Anderson will need Tommy John surgery and he can be moved to the 60-day DL.  Anderson will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week.
  • While the A's are struggling right now, "I don't see Billy Beane pulling the plug in early June no matter how many injuries they've absorbed, or even if Anderson does need Tommy John surgery."  Slusser notes that "Josh Willingham's name is definitely out there" in terms of trade rumors.
  • Oakland's late-round draft picks included Brett Geren (manager Bob Geren's son) in the 42nd round and Shane Boras (son of agent Scott Boras) in the 39th round.  Shane is the second Boras child to be drafted in this year's amateur draft; his brother Trent was taken in the 30th round by the Brewers.
  • Andy LaRoche has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, Slusser tweets.  LaRoche was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Monday.

Athletics Designate Andy LaRoche For Assignment

The Athletics have reinstated Grant Balfour from the paternity list and designated Andy LaRoche for assignment, according to a team release.

LaRoche had served as a part-time third baseman and utility infielder for the A's, earning starts at all four infield positions in the season's first two months. He appeared in 40 games for the team, batting .247/.320/.333 in 104 plate appearances. The 27-year-old ranked among Baseball America's top 20 minor league prospects before both the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but has struggled in the bigs, posting a .642 career OPS across parts of five seasons.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that the decision to designate LaRoche was made in part because infielder Adam Rosales is so close to returning from his right foot injury. LaRoche tells Slusser (Twitter link) that he hopes another team will have interest in him for a major league role.


Quick Hits: Diamondbacks, LaRoche, Pence, Young

Some links for Saturday evening as the cold weather makes its way back to the Northeast..


Athletics Sign Andy LaRoche To Minor League Deal

The Athletics have signed Andy LaRoche to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training according to the team's Twitter feed. The 27-year-old elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the Pirates back in November.

Adam's younger brother went to Pittsburgh in the Manny Ramirez trade, and is a .224/.304/.338 hitter in a little over 1,200 big league plate appearances. Oakland tried to upgrade their third base situation by signing Adrian Beltre this offseason, but LaRoche will have to overcome Kevin Kouzmanoff to land the job. In addition to the hot corner, he has also played first and second bases in his young career. 


Andy LaRoche, Delwyn Young Elect Free Agency

Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young elected free agency today after clearing outright waivers, MLBTR has learned.  LaRoche, Young, and Zach Duke were designated for assignment by the Pirates ten days ago, with Duke being traded to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

MLBTR pegged all three as non-tender candidates on November 2nd, so infielders LaRoche and Young are just reaching free agency a few days early.  Both former Dodgers prospects struggled to hit at the Major League level, but they're on the right side of 30 and can play multiple positions.


Pirates Designate Duke, LaRoche, Young

The Pirates have designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment, according to a team press release.  The moves do not come as a surprise, as MLBTR pegged all three as non-tender candidates earlier this month.

Following a season where he posted a 5.72 ERA in 29 starts, Duke was seen as a non-tender candidate given that he could've earned a $5MM salary through arbitration this winter.  In six seasons in Pittsburgh, Duke delivered a 4.54 ERA in 160 games (all but one of them a start) with a 1.92 K/BB ratio and a 4.7 K/9 rate.  Duke was an All-Star in 2009, has a couple of solid seasons under his belt and is left-handed, so it's likely he'll find work at the back end of another team's rotation.  MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports that the Pirates tried to negotiate a new deal with Duke and also explored trade possibilities before finally designating the southpaw.

LaRoche joined the Pirates as part of the big Manny Ramirez/Jason Bay three-team deal in July 2008.  He was Pittsburgh's regular third baseman in 2009 but became expendable after the Bucs called up Pedro Alvarez to man the hot corner.  Once seen as a promising infielder in the Dodgers organization (he was ranked 19th among all major league prospects by Baseball America in both 2006 and 2007), LaRoche has a .224/.304/.338 line in 1228 career plate appearances with L.A. and Pittsburgh.

Young is another former Dodger prospect who joined the Bucs in April 2009.  Young has an impressive career OPS of .876 in eight minor league seasons, but has never been able to find regular playing time at the major league level.  His line in two seasons with the Pirates: .255/.312/.393 in 595 plate appearances, with time spent at second base, third base, and the outfield corners.


Odds & Ends: Messenger, Martin, LaRoche, Branyan

Some links for Veterans Day…

  • MLBTR echoes commissioner Bud Selig's thoughts on the death of a legendary Mariners broadcaster: “All of Baseball is terribly saddened … by the tragic news that Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Seattle Mariners, has passed away."
  • Randy Messenger has agreed to a deal with the Hanshin Tigers, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The five-year MLB veteran pitched for the Mariners in 2009.
  • Three former White Sox employees were indicted on federal fraud charges yesterday, according to Melissa Segura of SI.com. They allegedly accepted $400K worth of signing bonuses intended for Latin American prospects.
  • Russell Martin's agent repeated to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times that the catcher wants to play for the Dodgers in 2011. There's been extensive speculation that the Dodgers could non-tender or trade Martin.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington told MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch that Andy LaRoche has to prove his worth to the Pirates, who are attempting to determine the best way to maximize the 27-year-old's value.
  • Russell Branyan has left Dan Lozano and is now represented by ACES, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).