Red Sox GM Theo Epstein once again showed why he is one of the best in the business, acquiring former 32 home run hitter Adam LaRoche for two mid-level prospects. Going the other way are AA shortstop Argenis Diaz and A pitcher Hunter Strickland.
In LaRoche, the Red Sox get an average defensive first baseman who can give Mike Lowell some extra days off (Youkilis will move over to third when LaRoche plays), and replace David Ortiz at DH when necessary. LaRoche’s best season came in 2006 with the Braves when he hit 32 home runs and had a .915 OPS. He was traded to the Pirates for reliever Mike Gonzalez the following off-season, but failed to live up to his billing in Pittsburgh. He is obviously excited to leave the sinking ship in Pittsburgh, saying “I’m grateful for the opportunity that a team like that wants me.” Hopefully for the Red Sox their winning atmosphere will help get him back on track.
Considering what they once gave up to acquire LaRoche, the Pirates are getting very little in return, which is par for the course for them. Diaz is a 22 year old AA shortstop with a paltry .619 OPS and brutal .947 fielding percentage. Strickland has improved steadily since turning professional two years ago, and owns a 5-4 record and 3.35 ERA in A ball. He exhibits good control with a 1.4 BB/9, which is important considering his fastball sits in the 89-91 MPH range. It is unlikely much will ever come of these two players, making this a great trade for the Red Sox and spelling more years of misery for the Pirates.