White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche announced his sudden retirement today, citing an undisclosed personal issue.
Colleen Kane of the Chicago Trubune reports that LaRoche’s teammates “asked him to sleep on it, but he’s confident in the decision” to call it a career after a dozen seasons in the majors.
LaRoche is under contract for $13 million this season as part of a two-year, $25 million deal signed as a free agent last winter. If he’s indeed retiring LaRoche would be forfeiting that money. He struggled in 2015, hitting .207 with 12 homers and a .634 OPS in 127 games, but there have been several stories this spring about LaRoche and the White Sox expressing optimism in his ability to bounce back offensively at age 36.
While never an All-Star pick, LaRoche was a consistently above-average first baseman who hit .260 with 255 homers and a .798 OPS in 1,605 games for the Braves, Nationals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and White Sox. He had nine different 20-homer seasons, including two years with more than 30 homers, and posted an OPS better than the MLB average in all but two years.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.