Adam LaRoche Signs With D’Backs

Word is that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed first-baseman Adam LaRoche to a one year contract for $4-5 M. This is well below the 3 years, $30 M that LaRoche was looking for at the start of the offseason, as well as the $17 M over two years that the Giants reportedly offered previously (which was turned down).

I mentioned the lefty slugger as a possible addition for the Orioles a couple weeks ago:

“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.”

Well with there being 4-5 relatively similar first-baseman on the market and only a few clubs with a need, LaRoche did indeed have to come down on his price quite a bit. Given that he signed for $4-5 M – assuming he would have been willing to come to Baltimore for a similar amount – I’m surprised the O’s weren’t more active in trying to bring him aboard for 2010. Perhaps they really are going to go with internal options no matter how cheap the alternatives become. In the grand scheme of things, I guess it really doesn’t matter too much. A quality season from LaRoche might have netted a draft-pick when he left though.