15 January 2010

Up & Adam

With his 142 strikeouts, below average glove and attention deficit label, Adam LaRoche should melt effortlessly into a dugout enabled by psychology major Andy Hinch, perhaps the most effete leader of men since Capt Jack Sparrow.

No, seriously. Things are looking up. Adam's a hopeful acquisition and dependable wheel for this peloton of positional talent pedaling and backpedaling into their primes. The eldest son of eephus deity, Dave LaRoche, smacks righties, comfortably projects to .270 and 25 homers, and has steadily improved his walk rate to 10-11% - about the same as Reynolds and Upton. That represents a monumental upgrade over wannabes Josh has previously trotted out at first, and embeds pathologically well rested Conor Jackson in left.

For the first time in years, it's actually fun to play with the batting lineups in one's head, and at least fantasize of a balanced and adequate offense.

From an organizational standpoint, any glee is tempered by the fact I (and many others) have been chirping for three or four years now, that this front office always had the financial capacity, and desperate necessity, to acquire a slightly below average major league first baseman.

This move seems evidence of both, unless they recoup a big chunk of dough by trading Eric Byrnes or Chris Snyder, which seems unlikely. Byrnes may be released any day now, while Snyder's probably a bit too expensive to trade.

Among Dback faithful (we few, we miserable few...), euphoria generated by this overdue harvest of relatively low hanging fruit serves to illustrate just how far fan expectations had fallen. After weeks, make that years, of criminally neglecting first base, and peddling dour, unsubstantiated financials for Nick Piecoro to transcribe, the brass almost seem like heroic philanthropists now, prying open the checkbook to secure a slightly below average starter.

It's a good move, and it's about time.


Russell said...

I think the FO know that they have to compete this year. The fan base in Phoenix is fragile and another year like last year would be disastrous.

The D-Backs look pretty good in theory but whether AJ can win back the players is the big issue. If they get off to a good start then it should be fine, a bad start could lead to another meltdown.

Diamondhacks said...

Hinch's results will be better, and I'm sure before April is done, we'll be lectured to by the usual drones about how I (we?) were wrong about AJ, blah, blah, blah.

As you know, I've never said AJ cant win in Arizona. Just the opposite. I thought he'd win last year. 2010 results will improve because, among other things, JB's assembled the best hitters here since at least 2002, and there wont be an awful midseason transition to contend with. There's pythag, the decline of LAD, a whole bunch of things that point to AJ Hinch "coming into his own" :-)

Jeff said...

The wheels are about to fall off for everyone in that peloton.

I really cherish the stellar sarcasm one can find by reading Diamondhacks. If I were ever to teach the concept to a class, your site would be required reading :-)

Diamondhacks said...

Thanks, Jeff. And I hope I didnt offend Allen on his birthday. He really is a ridiculously cogent writer.

Caroline said...

AJ winning is like Mark Sanchez winning--he tries his best to lose but everyone else bails him out. If the Dbacks do better this year it will because players stay healthy or someone picks up the slack down the stretch.

Caroline said...

That said...LaRoche ain't too bad. he doesn't add anything crucial, but most people like watching homers and that's what makes games exciting to the casual fan, and we can't just depend on Mark Reynolds all the time. LaRoche's power is a smart marketing move (!!!!) by the front office.

Jeff said...

Not at all. Al has skin made of Kevlar. He's always shied away from the limelight anyway, while I tend to try and make it my wife.