Here’s how far Matt LaPorta’s stock has fallen since he was the centerpiece of the package Cleveland received for CC Sabathia in mid-2008: Yesterday the Indians dropped LaPorta from the 40-man roster and he went unclaimed by the other 29 teams on waivers.
That means LaPorta–now 28 years old and the owner a career .694 OPS in 291 games in the majors–will remain in the Indians’ organization after being sent outright to Triple-A. He’s no longer on the 40-man roster, however, so if he performs well in the minors the Indians would have to re-add him before a potential call-up.
LaPorta underwent hip surgery last month that makes him no sure thing to be healthy by Opening Day, so the former seventh overall pick is facing some long odds.
Matt LaPorta was already facing an uncertain future in Cleveland after repeatedly struggling in various stints with the Indians and now he’ll have to come back from hip surgery.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that LaPorta underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and “will need three to four months for recovery and rehab.”
That gives him enough time to be ready for spring training, but just barely, and because he’s out of minor-league options LaPorta will have to make the Opening Day roster or be placed on waivers.
Acquired from the Brewers in mid-2008 as the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade, LaPorta has hit just .238 with a .694 OPS in 291 games for the Indians and the former No. 7 overall pick turns 28 years old in January.
Lonnie Chisenhall was Cleveland’s starting third baseman down the stretch last season as a rookie and headed into spring training as the presumed Opening Day starter, but today the Indians sent him back to Triple-A while handing the job to veteran Jack Hannahan.
Matt LaPorta was also optioned to Triple-A and unlike Chisenhall his place in the Indians’ long-term plans is now very uncertain. LaPorta was acquired from the Brewers as the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade, but the former first-round pick is now 27 years old and has hit just .238 with a .701 OPS in 269 games as a big leaguer.
As a prospect LaPorta looked like a potential middle-of-the-order bat with power and plate discipline, but his stock has fallen so far that the Indians signed Casey Kotchman instead of playing him at first base. Chisenhall struggled this spring, but is probably six good weeks at Triple-A away from being back in Cleveland. LaPorta might need an injury and some big-time production in the minors to return in an expanded role.