Sign LaRoche' You kiddin' me'
There's no sense signing Adam when you're on the eve of destruction.
Actually, if you're the Pirates, you're way past the eve of destruction. You're well into your latest roster overhaul, so why allocate $6-7-8 million for even one year to an underachieving first baseman who won't be here when (if) you start winning again, especially if he learns to hit in April and May and thus prices himself out of town?
The mere concept is preposterous.
Yet, the Pirates are talking about signing Adam LaRoche -- who had a one-year, $5 million deal this season -- to a new contract.
"As we pencil our club forward," general manager Neal Huntington said recently, "Adam is the guy we pencil in there."
Break the pencil, then. Or buy an eraser, because the only sensible approach is to jettison LaRoche and every other higher-priced veteran, notably shortstop Jack Wilson and second baseman Freddy Sanchez.
The last thing this franchise needs is another half-baked rebuilding project.
The reconstruction is well under way. Have the vision and fortitude to see it through. Trade those guys. Don't even tender LaRoche an offer, if it comes to that, before arbitration.
Use the extra millions on the draft. Use it to sign Latin American prospects. Use it to lure a veteran pitching coach (Rick Peterson, anyone?).
Invest in the future, not the wretched present.
The Pirates should slash their payroll to infinitesimal proportions and live to fight another day. They shouldn't insult the knowledgeable fans by making a transparent attempt to win next season, as if keeping LaRoche would represent some kind of legitimate commitment.
The Pirates aren't going to win in 2009. They are going to post a losing record for the 17th consecutive year - a record for professional sports teams in North America (and perhaps anywhere else).
But that doesn't mean the franchise is hopeless. Quite the opposite. If I were a fan, I'd be looking forward to a lineup in, say, 2011, that might feature Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and whoever else the Pirates can sign, draft and develop before then.
Every extra cent should go toward fortifying that group.
Which brings us back to LaRoche.
The silliest argument for keeping him goes like this: Who else are you going to put there?
OK, cue the high-pitched Jim Mora voice from his famous "playoffs!" rant:
You kiddin' me?
Let me answer that question five different ways:
5. Who cares?
4. The next upright, breathing mammal you see.
3. Nobody. Play without a first baseman.
2. A cheap free agent.
1. Steve Pearce.
I know what you're thinking: Pearce hasn't shown he can hit major-league pitching.
Neither has LaRoche in games that matter.
Pearce hit .298 with four home runs in September, by the way, which means absolutely nothing. Just like most of LaRoche's home runs.
If LaRoche is part of the long-term plan, then the long-term plan is flawed.
Notice what the Oakland A's did recently• They secured a fireballing, 6-foot-7, 16-year-old Dominican pitcher named Michel Inoa with a team-record $4.25 million signing bonus.
Wouldn't you like to see the Pirates use $6 million in freed money for those kinds of bold moves, rather than try to keep some faint flicker of hope alive for next season by re-signing Adam LaRoche?
Prospects, prospects, prospects. That should be the Pirates' motto.
Be fruitful and multiply.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- MLB commissioner: Pirates’ success starts in the front office
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Twins 2
- Forbes: Pirates worth $900 million
- Spring training breakdown: Braves 7, Pirates 5
- Pirates notebook: Worley bounces back after rough start
- Hair Cutch: Pirates superstar lops off his locks for charity
- Baseball awaits chance to fully delve into Cuba’s talent pool
- Pirates, South Korean star Kang optimistic bat will translate to MLB
- Pirates notebook: RV is home to pitcher Lincoln for spring training