So the Sox traded for Adam LaRoche today. They didn’t have to give up too much, just a couple of prospects I’ve never heard of. In return they got a player with good power numbers who can play first and third but has a tendency to strike out a lot. Frankly, I think this was a good, safe trade. It wasn’t the Garret Atkins or Michael Young deal that people really wanted, but it kinda helps them answer one of their big issues: who can play third? LaRoche can play both first and third base, which means a number of good things for the Sox: they can give Lowell enough days off to rest that aging hip of his; they can give Youkilis a day off every once in awhile without sacrificing production; they don’t need to rely on Mark Kotsay quite as much to act as their back up corner infielder. These are all very good things. The downside to LaRoche is how much he strikes out. This, however, is a problem I notice with many members of the team, such as J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek, Nick Green, and Jason Bay. Bringing in a power hitter who strikes out a fair amount doesn’t really change up the nature of the offense in a negative way because this team is already establishing itself as a simultaneous run and strike-out producing team. Plenty of teams do fine offensively like this, such as the Texas Rangers, but the Sox have the pitching to overcome a lot of strikeouts. And adding LaRoche may add a spark back into the Sox lineup.
Meanwhile, the prospects we gave up weren’t particularly important. If we gave up a Bucholz or a Bowden I’d be upset, but the two we gave up are not prime prospects. This means that the pieces necessary to claim the big prize- Roy Halladay- are still there should the Sox choose to actively pursue him. And as the Sox continue to struggle offensively, I’m beginning to think they should. The Yankees are blazing right now, and the Sox can’t rely on other teams to beat them in order to hold onto the division. If the Sox want the division, they need to go out and win it for themselves. The best way to do this is to trade Penny and open up the spot necessary to bring in Roy Halladay. Then three pitchers out of five will be phenomenal, and if Wake comes back healthy that leaves just one weaker spot in the pitching rotation. And considering that weak spot is John Smoltz, that’s not all that week at all.
In other news, the Sox traded Lugo for outfielder Chris Duncan. He’s a minor league player, but at least the Sox got SOMETHING in return for one of the most overpaid players in recent history. Lugo’s tenure with the Sox was just shy of a disaster, and Theo Epstein made the right decision in designating him for assignment. Getting anything in return for him is just gravy.