Now that Adam LaRoche has been traded to the Red Sox, it will create the type of redundancy Boston general manager Theo Epstein spoke of last week.
Epstein said the team was actually trying to create redundancy to cover themselves from a depth standpoint down the stretch. The Red Sox have an All-Star first baseman in Kevin Youkilis, but the presence of LaRoche will allow Mike Lowell to rest his surgically repaired right hip more often. Youkilis would play third on days Lowell sat.
Of course, the Red Sox already have a left-handed hitting backup first baseman in Mark Kotsay, but there again is the type of redundancy Epstein was referring to.
“We want to create as much depth and redundancy as we possibly can because if you don’t address depth before July 31 or in some cases in August, then you’re left without an opportunity to do so down the stretch and into what we hope will be another postseason,” Epstein said on July 17. “We’re going to read and react based on our health and based on the way some guys are playing and try to build as deep and as strong a position player core as we can.”
LaRoche, with 12 homers this season, offers the Red Sox some additional pop, and the offense has been slumping of late.
LaRoche is a free agent at the end of the season and is earning a salary of roughly $7 million this season. He is a possible Type B free agent, which means the Red Sox would get a draft pick if he signs with another organization.
As for the Pirates, they are likely to need a shortstop after this season with Jack Wilson headed for free agency. Hence, the acquisition of shortstop prospect Argenis Diaz — a terrific defender — in the deal for LaRoche. Diaz is 22 years old and is a good defender, albeit without much pop in his bat.
Still no word on how the Red Sox will get LaRoche on the 25-man roster.
With t-minus two weeks until the trade deadline, Red Sox fans shouldn’t waste time having thoughts about a postseason rotation of Halladay-Beckett-Lester. The price — major prospects, not to mention the money to sign Halladay long-term — figures to be too steep for Boston’s taste.
The Red Sox strongly believe in building around their core of prospects instead of dealing them away.
Besides, GM J.P. Ricciardi — according to several reports — told both the Red Sox and Yankees that the price for them would be significantly steeper than a non-AL East team, which makes perfect sense.
Here is Epstein’s take on trying to trade for an elite starting pitcher, without mentioning Halladay by name:
“It’s always tempting but it always comes at great cost. When you do it through the free agent market, it comes at tremendous risk in terms of the years and dollars you have to spend and if you do it through trade, it comes at tremendous cost – your best and most promising prospects – the core of your organization in a lot of ways.”
“The only way to do it that seems to make the most sense every time is to develop them from within. We’re lucky that we have a talented starting pitching core here that’s doing a great job and has kept us where we are in the standings and a lot of talented young pitchers in the Minor Leagues, one of which is going to pitch here tonight for the Big League club, to fortify the organization going forward. We’ll see what happens on the trade front. Things are always tempting but those temptations always come at a cost.”
— Ian Browne