Should The O’s Be Looking Into Adam LaRoche For First-Base?

The Orioles kind of need a first-baseman for 2010, and could certainly use some extra pop in their line-up. Adam LaRoche conveniently fills both criteria. He’s a career .274/.343/.491 hitter, and is good for around 25 home runs a season. While he’ll walk at an above-average clip, LaRoche also K’s a fair amount keeping his average (and, by extension, OBP) down, and has good but not exceptional power (less than that of Luke Scott, for example). Additionally, he’s not exactly a plus fielder at first, with a career -4.3 UZR/150 and a 5-4-3 weighted average of the last three years of -1.2 UZR/150. Overall, LaRoche would give the Orioles something like a +10 run bat (below average for a first-baseman), which combined with his defense would make him about a 1.5-1.7 Wins Above Replacement player.

Reports are that LaRoche is looking for a 3 year, $30 M contract, but I would be very surprised if anyone was willing to put up that many years or that much money. A one-year deal for $7-8 M would be pretty reasonable, but unless he would accept something closer to Garrett Atkins’ contract (one year and $4.5, with a club option) I wouldn’t recommend the O’s go after him – especially since Scott can give you about the same production himself. I have a hard time seeing LaRoche coming down so far on his demands, and so you probably won’t be seeing him in an Orioles’ uniform in 2010.