Back in November the White Sox signed free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal and now they’ve signed his brother, Andy LaRoche, to a minor-league contract.
Andy LaRoche was once considered a top prospect in the Dodgers farm system–higher rated as a prospect than Adam LaRoche ever was, in fact–but he struggled in 404 games as a big leaguer for four different teams and has spent most of the past three seasons at Triple-A.
Baseball America rated Andy LaRoche as a top-100 prospect in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008–including top-20 spots twice–but now at age 32 he’s mostly organization depth and someone to hang out with Adam during spring training.
Next week at the 30th annual Cubs Convention more than 60 current and former Cubs players will be in attendance, but Sammy Sosa will not be one of them.
Like last year, Sosa has not been invited to the event because, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
Issues between him and the team going back several years still haven’t been resolved. Sources have indicated in the past that Sosa needed to mend relationships with some former teammates before he can attend. Sosa was denied entry into the Hall of Fame earlier this week despite hitting 609 career home runs, including three seasons with the Cubs where he hit 60 or more.
It’s worth noting that the Cubs’ current management is not the same as the Cubs’ management when Sosa was in Chicago, at least in terms of the front office. Which suggests “some former teammates” are the ones keeping Sosa away. Sosa’s highest-profile Cubs teammates from 1992-2004? Kerry Wood, Mark Grace, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano. Hmm.
Takashi Toritani has decided to remain in Japan, re-signing with the Hanshin Tigers after reportedly “mulling offers” from multiple MLB teams as an unrestricted free agent.
Toritani, a 33-year-old infielder with more than 1,400 consecutive games played in Japan, hit .313 with modest power and good plate discipline in Japan last season and was viewed by some MLB teams as a potential starting shortstop or second baseman.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Emilio Bonifacio the White Sox designated for assignment outfielder Jordan Danks, whose brother John Danks remains in Chicago’s starting rotation.
Danks debuted for the White Sox in 2012 and has logged 386 plate appearances in the majors since then, hitting just .227 with eight homers and a .629 OPS.
He’s also spent a ton of time at Triple-A, totaling 463 games for Charlotte during parts of five seasons, but Danks’ numbers there suggest he’s probably best suited for a backup outfielder gig.
Veteran catcher/first baseman J.P. Arencibia has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Orioles, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
Matt Wieters’ uncertain health status has the Orioles in search of catching depth and they were unable to re-sign free agent Nick Hundley, who went to the Rockies on a two-year deal.
Arencibia is catching depth, but his defense behind the plate is pretty awful and aside from 20-homer power his hitting is perhaps even worse. He’s a career .207 hitter with a .658 OPS and ghastly 462/84 K/BB ratio in 443 games.