Cleat Geeks

South Side Salutations; LaRoche Likely to Retire

LaRoche tosses his bat after receiving a walk. Now will he toss his career and walk away?

LaRoche tosses his bat after receiving a walk. Now will he toss his career and walk away?

White Sox DH Adam LaRoche announced that he was “stepping away from the game” today.  He said he would wait a few days before addressing the matter of retirement. Teammates asked him to think it over, but the likely thought is that he will retire.

That news is notable on multiple levels, particularly as there were no prior indications that the 36-year-old was considering hanging up his spikes. The 12-year-veteran is under contract this year for $13MM, the second and final year of the two-year pact he signed to join the Sox out of free agency. LaRoche scuffled last year for Chicago, though he wasn’t alone in that regard. LaRoche had 484 plate appearances, a batting average of 207, 12 hrs and 44 RBIs last year, to say he struggled would be an understatement. LaRoche struggled to get anything going against opposing southpaws. While he’s turned things around before, he was certainly a major question mark heading into 2016. It didn’t help that he’s been limited by back issues this spring.

adam-laroche-melky-cabreraMelky Cabrera would be a likely thought of moving to DH, Avi Garcia has been hitting better this spring he could possibly move to DH as well. I am sure Robin will have an idea of what is going on. Right now we have been seeing Melky Austin Jackson and Avi in the OF and Eaton has been DHing so it may stay this way for a little while. While LaRoche’s career is worth celebrating on its own accord, the financial elements cannot be ignored. It’s unclear at present whether LaRoche will recoup any of the $13MM he was set to earn, but even a significant chunk of that amount would represent a huge boon to the team’s payroll flexibility. But. there aren’t any obvious, big-ticket free agents out there.

Ric Hahn said We had some flexibility built into this roster. It may well provide some more opportunity for guys that we have now or may lead to opportunities potentially down the road to make acquisitions from outside the organization, whether those happen in spring training or through the course of the season up to the trade deadline.

TravisIshikawaSoxLaroche also was the back up 1st basemen. Third baseman Todd Frazier can play first base, and infielder Brett Lawrie could cover third on days Frazier plays first. They also have non-roster invitee Travis Ishikawa, a postseason hero with the Giants who has major league experience, and outfielder Jerry Sands, who has played first. With the big subtraction of his salary , as well as the need for another bat. That could allow the Sox to revisit trade possibilities for high-priced power hitting outfielders such as Carlos Gonzalez and Jay Bruce.  Hahn also said “We’re not going to leave any stone unturned if we decide we need to go outside the organization to make ourselves better,”  I wouldn’t mind going outside just don’t give up a lot or over pay because of this situation that we are in now. The White Sox have the door open and I know Hahn has his mind open. I trust he will know what to do.

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