Tag: Andy LaRoche

Andy LaRoche

White Sox sign their second LaRoche of the offseason


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.

Andy LaRoche has latched on with another team

Andy LaRoche

As far as baseball relevance goes, Andy LaRoche isn’t high on the list these days.  It’s been years since he was a prospect. He turns 30 this year for Pete’s sake.

But I’m still fascinated by him, just as I’m fascinated by any guy who, for a time anyway, looked like a can’t-miss prospect. The guy has a line of .285/.372/.429 in the minors, and that was much higher back when he was on the cusp of the bigs. He looked like he was heading for great things.

What happened? Don’t know, but he’s had over 1,300 big league plate appearances to show something and he’s produced … nothing. One year in Pittsburgh of some promise, but nothing. He’s got a prime corner stool at the Quad-A Cafe with his name carved on it. When he walks in people yell “Andy!”

He’s getting another shot. He signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays today.  He probably won’t sniff the bigs given how loaded Toronto is for 2013, but it’s another chance. It’s too late to expect that he’ll ever fulfill that promise, but he’ll still be around, making people like me wonder whatever happened to it.

Running down the rosters: Cleveland Indians

Carlos Santana, Chris Perez

Even after giving up their top two pitching prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez, the Indians couldn’t maintain their hot start last year and lost their last four games to finish under .500 at 80-82. The offseason saw them shopping from the scrap heap, which isn’t unusual, but even as they were forced to pick from largely unwanted players, they did well with what they had. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t answer when the team that finished 15 games ahead of them last year added Prince Fielder.

Ubaldo Jimenez – R
Justin Masterson – R
Derek Lowe – R
Josh Tomlin – R
Kevin Slowey – R

Chris Perez – R
Vinnie Pestano – R
Tony Sipp – L
Joe Smith – R
Rafael Perez – L
Dan Wheeler – R
Frank Herrmann – R

Disabled list: Carlos Carrasco (R)
Restricted list: ex-Fausto Carmona (R)
SP next in line: David Huff (L), Jeanmar Gomez (R), Zach McAllister (R)
RP next in line: Nick Hagadone (L), Chris Ray (R), Jeremy Accardo (R), Robinson Tejeda (R)

The addition of Lowe from Atlanta was supposed to give the Indians the most groundball-focused rotation the league has seen in years. The Fausto Carmona situation, however, has taken some of the wind out of those sails, especially since it looks like he’ll be replaced by Slowey, one of the league’s top flyball pitchers. I don’t necessarily think that’s a downgrade, though. In fact, I’m not sure the Indians’ original strategy was such a good idea; they play in a pitcher’s park and their outfield defense figures to be quite a bit better than their infield defense.

The bullpen has two openings, with Herrmann and Hagadone competing against a host of veterans on minor league deals. I’m nervous about Perez in the closer’s role — his velocity is down a bit and his strikeout rate took a big tumble last year — but Pestano rates as maybe the game’s best reliever no one knows about. He can step in if Perez struggles.

CF Grady Sizemore – L
SS Asdrubal Cabrera – S
RF Shin-Soo Choo – L
C Carlos Santana – S
DH Travis Hafner – L
2B Jason Kipnis – L
1B Casey Kotchman – L
3B Jack Hannahan – L
LF Michael Brantley – L

C Lou Marson – R
INF Jason Donald – R
1B/OF Shelley Duncan – R
OF Ryan Spilborghs – R

Next in line: C Matt Pagnozzi (R), 1B Matt LaPorta (R), 1B-3B Russ Canzler (R), 2B Cord Phelps (S), 2B-3B Jose Lopez (R), 3B Lonnie Chisenhall (L), 3B Andy LaRoche (L),
OF Aaron Cunningham (R), OF Ezequiel Carrera (L), OF Felix Pie (L), OF Fred Lewis (L), OF Trevor Crowe (S)

And then there’s the lineup. After re-signing Sizemore and bringing in Kotchman to start over LaPorta, the Indians will be able to go with nine left-handed hitters against right-handed pitching. Of course, things will get dicey against lefties. I think Cleveland might have been better off moving Brantley to center and adding a right-handed bat in Sizemore’s place.

That said, the Indians do deserve a ton of credit for bringing in the winter’s greatest haul in minor league free agency. That “next in line” group is probably the strongest any team can boast, and it gives the Indians plenty of bench options.

My controversial call above is sticking Chisenhall back in the minors. I didn’t want to do it, but the bench works much better that way. A right-handed-hitting backup infielder is a must, whether it’s Donald or Lopez. Hannahan, as a lefty, would be pretty useless as a reserve, but the Indians appear unlikely to cut him after re-upping him for $1.35 million last month. My preference would be for a Hannahan trade, leaving Chisenhall as the starter at third.

The Indians’ chances in 2012 figure to hinge on return to forms from Sizemore, Choo and Jimenez. If two of the three former All-Stars contend for a return to this year’s Midsummer Classic, then the Indians should be capable of winning 90 games and hanging in the playoff race.

Andy LaRoche agrees to minor-league deal with Indians

Andy LaRoche

Cleveland has been adding some formerly intriguing names as minor-league depth and the latest is Andy LaRoche, who agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

LaRoche, whose brother Adam LaRoche is the Nationals’ first baseman, will join guys like Felix Pie and Jose Lopez in competing for a spot on the Indians’ bench, but will most likely head back to Triple-A again.

He was once a top prospect with the Dodgers, but LaRoche has hit just .226 with a .642 OPS in 403 games as a big leaguer spent with three different teams and even his minor-league numbers were underwhelming in 2011.

Indians in “serious talks” for outfielder Mike Cameron

mike cameron ap

As first reported by Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, then confirmed by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Indians are in serious talks with the representatives for veteran outfielder Mike Cameron.

The Indians are also interested in Andy LaRoche.

Cameron hit just .203/.285/.359 with nine homers and 27 RBI over 78 games between the Red Sox and Marlins in 2011, but the 38-year-old probably isn’t demanding anything greater than a minor league contract and an invitation to spring training.

Cameron would provide insurance in case Grady Sizemore again struggles with injuries. LaRoche, who also won’t do better than a minor league deal, would simply function as organizational infield depth.