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.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).