Archives for posts with tag: Adam LaRoche

The exercise was to visit Cot’s Baseball Contracts
website, take a look at each position need, and determine who’s worth
spending time and energy on.  The assumption here is that
everyone who’s on the Mets’ case for having deep pockets and a shallow
farm pool are correct, and that it would be better to spend money than
trade prospects.

Better Know A First Baseman: Adam LaRoche

You know, here at Sports Night, we get a lot of mail. Most of it goes something like this: ‘Casey, Dan, you two obviously know a lot about sports. But what can you tell us about legendary Italian song stylist Tony Orlando?’ Well, you should know that Tony Orlando is not Italian, and if you guessed that the man was of Latin decent, you’d be incorrect as well. Mr Tony Orlando hails from Greece, and we thought you should know that.”

Dan Rydell, Sports Night, “The Head Coach, Dinner And The Morning Mail”


David Adam LaRoche is Mexican.  I did not know that.

LaRoche played for three teams last year: the Pirates, the Red Sox, and the Braves, and in a spot of misfortune for the Sox, went 5-for-19 in Boston, prompting Paperbacknovel.com to sponsor Adam’s Baseball Reference page by writing the following:

“Only a pawn in the Red Sox game. What a screw up by Boy Genius Theo Epstein — trading LaRoche for Casey Kotchman. LaRoche finishes with a bang-up end of season for Atlanta — one of their key hitters down the stretch, while Kotchman was a dud.”

(Odd thing about LaRoche’s year: he had twelve home runs, forty RBIs, and a triple for Pittsburgh.  Upon returning to Atlanta, he notched twelve home runs, forty RBIs, and a triple.

No, it doesn’t mean much.  It’s just weird, is all.)

I gotta think LaRoche wouldn’t be too happy to note the vitriol on a page bearing his stats, even if it’s not directed at him.  Comments captured by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic, after Carlos Beltran got his Jimmy Rollins-on, show that LaRoche will call a man out for disrespecting him.

Of course, Beltran rarely says things he doesn’t mean, so he doubled down the following day (as captured by the Adam Rubin of the Daily News).

As unnecessary as the dust-up was, Rodriguez-Bruney it wasn’t.  And if Adam LaRoche could manage to work as a Met, I’m sure he and Beltran would have their talk and that’d be the end of that.  Would it make sense to even bother? 

LaRoche’s fielding is defense was above reproach in 2009, after a less-than-exemplary 2008 that saw six ground- or fly-ball errors out of eight total (between Luis Castillo and The Ole! Kid Daniel Murphy, such things cannot be ignored).

But this is about production.  And without trying to predict a trend, LaRoche has consistently performed better than the league average in OPS.  After a breakout 2006, the lefty’s found some consistency in home run hitting, naturally slamming right-handed pitching at a rate of three-to-one.  Assuming the sky doesn’t fall on the man or he doesn’t hit Renaissance II: Electric Boogaloo, one can assume a 25-home run, 85-RBI season.  For comparison, joyous days were when Beltran and David Wright were pushing for 30/100 seasons.  That happened, if you recall.  Two men on the Mets combined for more than a handful of home runs.

LaRoche’s value would be more apparent on a team looking to “get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in,” as is so annoyingly presented as the Mets’ bread-and-butter.  Last year, he drove in the runner from third with less than two out fifty-three percent of the time in 34 opportunities.  By comparison, Russell Branyan did it forty-six percent of the time in 2009 in a similar number (35) of opportunities.  Carlos Delgado did it fifty-eight percent of the time in 2008, with 43 chances.

By the way, feel me on this annoyance with “get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in,” I plead with you.  It’s remarkable, exciting baseball, but holding it up as a recipe for success is like me declaring I’ll come out on top this year because I’ve decided to wear pants full-time.  It’s the same thing with the curveball drill held at Mets 2009 Spring Training.  Of course they should be able to hit curveballs.  Of course they should be able to drive runners in.  That’s the job description.  They should also be able to knock tomato cans out of the game by taking meatballs served and whacking the bean out of the house.

(As of this writing, it’s 3a and I find my dinner left me wanting.)

So he’s gotta crush it.  He’s gotta crush it against the Braves and Marlins (who are righty-heavy), the Phillies (who are not), and the Nationals (who knows at this point).

My question is whether he’ll do it at less than $7 million a year, which is what he earned in 2009 as he bounced about.  My guess is no, seeing as how he’s a competent thirty year-old first-baseman who’s had all of a slight hamstring issue and a sore back in five years of service.  He’s not setting the world on fire, but players have signed for more and brought less.

Any multi-year deal for LaRoche at $7 million or more per is where I get off the bus.  Daniel Murphy reached somewhat near LaRoche’s RBI total in a hideous year for him and the Mets in general, and managed to drive runners in at about the same (two points higher) percentage.  And I get the idea that Murphy will spend at least some of the peanuts he’ll earn next year upgrading the stereo on his ’02 Honda Civic.

The above might all sound schizophrenic, but here it is in abstract: Adam LaRoche is not a bad guy.  He speaks his mind and goes where he’s told, and seems to be settling into a good life as a slightly above-average producer and defender at first base.  He’ll make some team looking for a solid citizen very happy someday soon. 

If he should happen to fall to the Mets, and be somewhat desperate, and that power production is supplemented elsewhere in the Mets line-up, AND the Mets decide to rid themselves of Murphy or don’t think he’s ready, worse things could happen than signing him.  But not for years and years, as looks like might happen elsewhere, and not at money that could be spent on trying to cash in on Delgado one last time, or roll the dice with Branyan.

He’s also not Greek, like Tony Orlando is (actually just of Greek descent).  But that’s beside the point.

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“And where the hell were you?”
“Sorry, T; the highway was jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive.”
“What, are you a comedian now?”

The Sopranos, “Long-Term Parking”

 
Lots of injury seen yesterday:

  • Martin Prado comes out of the game with a headache;
  • Oliver Perez tweaks his knee on a cover attempt at first;
  • Derek Lowe gets hit on his glove hand trying to cover a hit up the middle;
  • Anderson Hernandez goes down trying to cover second;
  • Larry Jones goes hitless and hurts his pride;
  • Jerry Manuel discusses the mess that was Ryan Church’s 2008 concussion and, as my junior high band teacher used to say, steps on his joint;
  • Ryan Church does less than Larry Jones, and hurts his team’s playoff chances;
  • someone (I’ve no idea who) slips on the slick rotunda floor and is taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.

 
Each of these points should be addressed before moving forward. I choose to do so in reverse order.
 
First: that floor in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is a menace. It’s lovely and eye-catching and leads the fan to inserts detailing Mr. Robinson’s nine core values, but it’s slippery when DRY. And last night saw two sure signs of the Apocalypse: the current Mets line-up notching ten hits against the $60 million man, and a resultant flash thunderstorm. There was an easy quarter-inch of rain on the ground and no sign of decent drainage.  Put that on the list for off-season adjustments. 

Also add the completion of whatever this:

construction.jpg…is supposed to be, far west of the bullpen gate. (For orientation purposes, the window on the far right looks out onto the parking lot behind center field and, across the water, LaGuardia Airport.)  Restaurant with thirty-foot ceilings? Mets museum? What up?
 
Next: Ryan Church had three ground-outs last night before striking out to end the game, leaving him 0-for-4 on the night.

I’m in the camp that believes Ryan Church’s concussions were handled poorly by the Mets–and I’ll get to my thinking in a moment–but in the Land of Put Up Or Shut Up (which is just across the border from Bring It, Turkey and shares a river with Yo Mama), Chachi was a beggar.  Shame. He was afforded rounds of  applause for each at bat.  Had his output matched Chowdah’s and had the Mets still come out with the win, I’d’ve been cool with it.
 
Next: I don’t think Jerry Manuel had a leg to stand on in discussing the dueling concussion experiences of Ryan Church and David Wright. Hell, Mr. Manuel, Chachi had TWO of them, and in both instances he was playing hard, and in one, he was playing hard during SPRING TRAINING.
 
A man who plays like that is going to want to go out there until he can’t anymore. It’s management’s job to protect him. But Chachi’s situation was less complex than the chest-thumping war cries between man and other man.  He’d suffered TWO CONCUSSIONS within three months.  If you sprain your ankle twice in three months, you take it easier.  If your right fielder knocks around his BRAIN twice in three months, you put the man on the DL.

I can’t believe I’ll pick a mild pun off the rack, but guys: it wasn’t like it was brain surgery.  It’s common sense.  Don’t listen to what the man says.  He’s not Superman.  His body slid, semi-conscious, past second base after hitting Yunel Escobar’s knee.  I was watching as it happened and I grabbed my OWN head.

Furthermore, what does bringing all this up AGAIN get you but more aggravation and a series of day-job writers thinking your organization is rife with either incompetence or bullheadedness, from the trainers to the management to the press office?  It’s the communications equivalent of intentionally walking a batter to get to the pitcher’s spot: you’ve only bought yourself more trouble.

Next: I’m awed and humbled that the derisive “Laaaaarry! Laaaaarry!” chant made it across the alley.  This is the first Mets-Braves game I’ve been to all year, and hearing it made me feel truly, TRULY at home.  No louder was it than when Omir Santos grounded to third on a fielder’s choice, and Jones bobbled it or couldn’t get a grip on it or was doing Chowdah a favor or what, and the ninth run scored.

I didn’t get a shot of it, but it appeared Larry gave a defeated shrug at the end of the play.  Delightful.

He and Church were 0-for-8 on the night.  That’s about as historic as a ten-hit Met inning, considering the team’s status at present.

Next: Anderson Hernandez.

anderson hernandez injury.jpg
I’d just gotten through talking about how Jose Reyes, Ramon Martinez, and Alex Cora were on the DL, and how it would behoove Anderson Hernandez to watch himself.  And down he went.

It was about at this point during the game that, aside from derisive tomahawk chops and exhortations for the free-swinging to stop in the later innings, I decided to keep my fool mouth shut.

(For the record, I also called Adam LaRoche’s solo home run.  The Wife can confirm that one, too. 

Listen, I don’t report these things because I’m an ego-maniacal train wreck.  I report these things because I find them scary.  Though as my seatmate Mike reminded me, “Calling a home run off Oliver Perez is like calling the sun’s rise in the East tomorrow morning.”  Fair enough.

By the way, have you seen The Wife?  Here she is:

the field.jpg

That’s her head on the left.)

Next: Derek Lowe.

derek lowe injury.jpg

Someone shouted “Rub some dirt on it!” 

Probably would’ve helped, but here’s the video as captured by SNY, and the quote as caught by ESPN:

“That had nothing to do with it,” Lowe said, referring to his pinkie. “I was under every single ball flat.”

Very well, Mr. Lowe.  You had a crappy night and your defense up the middle left a bit to be desired.  I thank you for adding ten hits in an inning to my list of Mets History Witnessed, which includes Santana’s One Hundredth Win and Sheffield’s Five Hundredth Homer.  Cheers.

Next: Oliver Perez.

perez card.jpgC’mon, guy.  Do you HAVE to look so goofy?  Shouldn’t your hands be folded on a desk with a large vinyl reproduction of a library-scape hanging behind you?  Perhaps with “2009” in white-on-black hanging upper left?  Criminy.

To be fair, he walked only one ba
tter, and struck out four, and the Matt Diaz pitch looked from above to be a mistake, and I claim responsibility for the LaRoche home run.  My question, really, is whether he was pulled after 78 pitches because of the tweak his knee got in the fourth inning, or because runners were starting to get on again as of said fourth.

I’m guessing a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B.

I will get off his case only enough to say he hustled to cover first, and he had me beat on the number of walks he issued.  Whether his stuff was better than the Braves’ or whether the Braves were godawful… hell, how subjective IS this sport, anyway?

Here’s how subjective, both in amount and true nature: I was all ready to take a look at Derek Lowe’s record and Oliver Perez’s record, set them side by side, with no-decisions factored, and figure out just where the truth lay on who would be the better Met.  But the Braves have not had NEARLY the spades of injury trouble the Mets have had.  They’ve not had the same schedule.  Hell, from what I see on his game log, he’s made each of his starts.  Perez hasn’t.  How do you reasonably compare the two without major question?

The only anecdotal way I know is this: from what I’ve seen, Derek Lowe throws first-pitch strikes.  Oliver Perez oftentimes does not.  It has been my experience that pitchers who throw first-pitch strikes get into less trouble, and last longer in games, than those who do not.  Those who do not leave us with men named Elmer Dessens, and the ridiculous tactic of berating said Elmers for the purpose of reverse-psychology-derived gains.

That’s all I’ve got.

Lastly: Martin Prado–what’s going on with Martin Prado?  I haven’t checked that had because, well, it’s Martin Prado and I care about Martin Prado just about as well as I can throw Martin Prado, which is to say not all that much.  I care in that he’s a fellow human being and I don’t wish him any particular harm, but no one on the internet-box can tell me what his deal is with these headaches.  Anyone know?  Swine flu?  The bends?  Restaurant?  Mets museum?  What up?

Yes, lots of injury last night.  Lots of potential for injury.  We ran like hell for the Chernobyl-style stairwells from the Promenade overhang; we shoved past rubberneckers on the stairs in the rotunda; we ran like hell from the rotunda to the subway entrance, which was a SEAL-type operation in an of itself (I got to tell someone I “broke left” when running the after-action report). 

leaving citi.jpgYou know it’s bad when the best I can do for my post-victory photo of the park is a runaway shot from the 7 Super-Express, above.

Hell, Big Man was in rare form and got a T-shirt for his ad-hoc mascot trouble:

section 528 t-shirt.jpgAs I’ve said in the past: great for branding.  Keep that liver running, my friend.

But a tremendous afternoon and evening at the park.  I’m almost sad I can’t head out tonight, but I’m bloody exhausted, and I think I hurt my shoulder, having run full-bore into a man wearing a “Texas Longhorns” T-shirt while trying for cover.  He did indeed apologize.

As for me, I’m scheduled for a side session on Friday.