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White Sox agree to terms with Adam LaRoche

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox will sign Adam LaRoche for two years and $25 million. He'll presumably split time with Jose Abreu at first base and DH.

This is significant for the Pirates not only because Rick Hahn (who also recently signed Zach Duke to a three-year deal) seems to be trying to reunite the '08 Bucs, but because LaRoche represented the last significant free agent first baseman, unless you count Mike Morse. With LaRoche off the board and Ike Davis designated for assignment, it's now clearer than ever that Pedro Alvarez will be the Pirates' starter at first against righties.

LaRoche would have been an upgrade, although perhaps not a big enough one to justify the extra cost and all the roster shuffling. Steamer projects LaRoche will hit .243/.340/.434 next season, with Alvarez at .241/.315/.446. That extra on-base percentage is significant. Of course, Steamer doesn't know that Alvarez will be moving to first base, though it's hard to imagine Alvarez will be much worse defensively than LaRoche, who has a steady glove but has never gotten much love from defensive metrics.