Thursday, September 17, 2009

Explained: Why Adam LaRoche Failed As A Pirate But Succeeds In Atlanta

by The Last Hollywood Star

Yesterday, I wrote that I sympathized with Pirate pitcher Kevin Hart who must have felt chills go up his spine when he learned that he had been traded in July from the then-competitive Chicago Cubs to the hapless Bucs.

Imagine on the other hand the surge of joy that Adam LaRoche experienced when, after a half-season of being maligned, he was reunited with former teammate Jason Bay on the Red Sox and then sent off to the Atlanta Braves to hook up with Nate McClouth.

La Roche’s new surroundings agree with him. Compare his Pirate to his Brave stats.

For the Pirates: .247 with 12 home runs in 87 games.

For the Braves: .351 with 12 home runs in 40 games.

I have two comments.

First, when fans bad mouth a player long enough and when management makes widely known that he’s on the trading block, both of which happened in LaRoche’s case, production drops.

Second, the Pirates misjudged the kind of player LaRoche is. Too much was expected of him. LaRoche is not going to carry a team. He’s a laid back, Southern California guy who is a complementary player.

On the Braves, LaRoche is surrounded by quality players. On the Pirates, he was not.

How the Pirates misjudged LaRoche’s role brings again into question management’s ability to evaluate players.

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