KTAR reports that first baseman and all around good (facial hair) guy, Adam LaRoche has cleared waivers.
That right there is kind of surprising.
Regardless, he's cleared now and so that means the D-backs are free to negotiate a trade with any team, so he can take his talents (hitting + fielding) to a team in contention.
The question is, should the D-backs move LaRoche since they are not in the playoff hunt this season (or really any hunt, for that matter)?
Contract: Not Bad, Not Great
Adam's making $4.5 million this year with a mutual option for 2011 for $7.5 million. If that option is not picked up by either side, he gets a $1.5 million buyout. Creative, huh, and not bad considering his production.
Depth: Allen, Brandon
One guy we keep hearing about in the D-backs farm system is first baseman Brandon Allen, drafted in 2004. Many think he is finally ready to get his shot now that his shoulder is healthy and his walk-rate is up. Fan Graphs uses numbers and graphs and such to make his case.
LaRoche is hitting at a .355 clip in his past 19 games and has put up solid season and career numbers. He's one of only five active first baseman to hit 20-plus homeruns in six or more straight seasons.
Bonus points if you can name the other four.
In the field, Adam is the most solid defensive player to hold down the position for the D-backs since Mark Grace. No offense intended to Adam Dunn.
The always present "If they blow us away with an offer" caveat aside, the D-backs should hang on to LaRoche and pick up his option for next season. $7.5 million is a fair price to pay for that production and you need veterans on the team, even if they are the strong, silent type.
Brandon Allen can spend some time this September and over the winter and spring learning to play left field. It's been considered before, don't ya know, and the team could certainly stand to upgrade their power production from that position.
LaRoche anchors a key infield position and is a consistent left-handed hitter at the plate. You can only rebuild so much before you have to start thinking about having enough house left to live in.
* I posed this question to SB Nation's baseball editor, Jeff Sullivan, who replied: "Can't be completely sure, but the Braves could prefer Lee's track record, or they could prefer Lee's veteran leadership, or they could prefer Lee's right-handedness, or they might be skeptical of LaRoche's numbers in a hitter-friendly ballpark, or they might not want to deal with LaRoche's 2011 buyout."
Can't argue with Lee being a righty and Adam being a lefty and, while Adam is a nice guy, he's not the leader type. As for the rest ... well, the buyout is only $1.5m and his road numbers are pretty comparable to his home, not to mention all the great pitching in the NL West he's faced. Lee might be preferable, but why not have a fall-back plan and open negotiations with the D-backs?