Pirates Deal Adam LaRoche to Red Sox

For shortstop prospect Argenis Diaz and pitching prospect Hunter Strickland. 

I didn't expect the Pirates would get much for LaRoche, but the return here disappoints me a little. Diaz is supposed to be an incredible defender, but even incredible defenders need to hit a little bit, and right now his line at Class AA Portland is .253/.309/.310. He's only 22, which is a reasonable age for the level, but I don't see much in his minor league profile that suggests he's ever going to hit. It might be tempting to think he's a future replacement for Jack Wilson, but it's worth remembering that even Jack Wilson hit well in the minors. Unless Diaz improves dramatically with the stick, he's not going to be anything more than a utility infielder.

As a 20-year-old getting by in the South Atlantic League, Strickland is a bit more interesting, but his strikeout rate (51 batters in 83.3 innings) is far smaller than you'd hope for a real prospect. He's a big guy, but he's not a hard thrower, so my guess is that he's going to struggle to post good overall numbers as he moves up. 

The choices here, presumably, were between signing LaRoche to an extension (not a good option), getting nothing from him at the end of the season (also not good), hoping for him to get hot so they could get draft picks for him at the end of the season (a crapshoot, and you don't want to risk offering him arbitration), or trading him to a contending team to rent for two months. So the Pirates were really up against it here, and it must've been hard to try to market an incredibly inconsistent free-agent-to-be. I'm not sure the Bucs could have done better than what they got. But it still disappointing to see them get two very marginal prospects for a regular player. There's at least a reasonable chance that LaRoche goes on one of his annual tears and ends up making Theo Epstein look like a genius.

Steve Pearce was pulled from Indianapolis' game today, by the way, and Lastings Milledge also isn't in the game, so we'll see how this shakes out. Garrett Jones could potentially move to first to make way for Milledge, or Pearce could take over at first.

The Pirates won't pay any of LaRoche's remaining salary.

UPDATE: Pearce has been recalled. Milledge will stay at Indianapolis.

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