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With today's departure of Adam LaRoche to the soon-to-be-disappointed Boston Red Sox, the Pirates saved themselves about $2.95 million in salary for the rest of the season. As the saying goes, they can finish in last without him, and they probably will.

The salary savings alone would be reason enough to dump LaRoche in exchange for a bag of sunflower seeds, but Nealer the Dealer actually got a few prospects back in return. They're not to be confused with Kyle Drabek or Matt Wieters anytime soon, but they're warm bodies, which fits Huntington's plan of acquiring said warm bodies in Sam's Club-like quantities.

After declaring the trade a success and spending the better part of today holding my own celebration of the deal, I decided to compliment that with a look back at the LaRoche Era as covered on Mondesi's House, from beginning to end. It was quite a ride. For me, he was a gold mine of content, so as a blogger, I'll miss him. But as a Pirate fan, I will not. Cue the dramatic music, and note all the references to batting averages over the years.

"10. The arrival of Adam LaRoche. LaRoche was celebrated as if the Pirates traded for a combination of Albert Pujols, Babe Ruth, and Roberto Clemente times 100. Anything less than 82 home runs and 195 RBI this year would be considered a disappointing season."

"Adam LaRoche, in the words of Joe Namath, is struggggling. 0-for-8, 5 strikeouts, 5 runners left on. Of course, being a blogger, my job is to criticize Dave Littlefield if he were unable to trade for LaRoche, then criticize him after two games if the guy is off to a poor start. So direct your anger at the GM.

Even worse, I figured out who LaRoche looks like...the Klopek kid from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Burbs."

"When Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post's D.C. Sports Bog emailed me with this, I couldn't believe it was true. The unintentional comedy scale could possibly go off the charts once this project comes to fruition. Let's go over the ingredients of what he is reporting:

1. Adam LaRoche, .216-hitting first baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Willie Robertson, the current leader of the famed Duck Commander clan and dead ringer for former WWF rassler Hillbilly Jim

3. A video featuring Adam LaRoche and Willie Robertson."

"Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche is currently hitting .221 with six homers. On this date last year, he was hitting .211 with seven homers. In Atlanta in 2006, those numbers were .247 and 10, and in 2005, .249 and seven.

So the Pirates acquired this traditional late-bloomer before the 2007 campaign, and his early-season numbers since joining the Buccos have tailed off even below their previous depths. Although some would question the acquisition of such a player by a team that usually holds an annual fire sale in July, we've all learned to never question the wisdom of Dave Littlefield.

With that in mind, a Pirate fan created this incredible YouTube montage of The LaRoche Era, set to LaRoche's own at-bat theme song, "Karate Kid's" You're the Best. For any Pirate follower, it's a must-see."

August, 2008: An updated post on LaRoche's fascination with hunting:

"If he were traded tomorrow, my memories of the Adam LaRoche Era in Pittsburgh would include perennial half-seasons of teetering on the Mendoza Line, at least 100 Hans Klopek references too many on my part, and LaRoche's obsession with hunting."

January, 2009: LaRoche signs for the upcoming season

"Adam LaRoche just re-signed for one year, $7.05 million, a raise of over $2 million from his .270, 25 HR, 85 RBI 2008 season. Because if anyone deserves a $2 million raise in this economy, it's Adam LaRoche."

"There ain't a guy in here who ain't [ticked] off about it," said first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to the report. "It's kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you've got to figure: How much longer till you sink?

"It's fine. Heck with it. We're not the GM. We don't run the team. If they feel like it's the best move for three or four years from now, great," LaRoche said, according to the report. "Unfortunately, that does me no good. I've still got to be in here telling guys it's going to be fine with Nate gone. Well, you can only do that for so long until guys just kind of ... well, they know."

My commentary at the time:

"One finds irony in the fact that LaRoche, who is currently hitting .245 and traditionally does his best to help sink the aforementioned Pirates' platoon by the All-Star break, felt the need to speak out, especially considering the fact that LaRoche is a pending free agent and will surely exit via that route, unless he's traded first (hopefully for some prospects, for comedic irony)."

June 2009: LaRoche speaks out against Carlos Beltran's comment that being swept by the Pirates was embarrassing:

"I think it shows zero class and zero professionalism," the Pirates' first baseman said yesterday at Minute Maid Park. "When somebody says that, they know what they're saying, and they know it's going to get out. He knows we're not going to be real happy about it. If you go and say that to your buddies, it's one thing. If you go to the media and make that public for us to hear? Yeah, that's no class."

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HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Anyone else find it ironic that he was traded for a guy with the first name Hunter?

Papa Eo said...

While I admit he underperformed, I think LaRoche seemed like a decent guy. He actually seemed somewhat proud to be a Bucco, he stuck up for his teammates, and he came to play every day and managed to work his way out of the funks he always seemed to start the year in. On top of that, he was one of maybe three guys on the squad you legitimately could hold out hope for that he would/ could hit a home run when he came to the plate. Not saying I'll miss the guy, I'm just saying he's not a juicer, he doesn't take adavantage of women in Vegas VIP suites, and he never really disrespected fans or media in this town. Good luck in Boston, Adam, and don't let the door hit you in the ass.

Jeff_King_Fan said...

as michael keaton in batman said, "you wanna get nuts? let's get nuts!" how crazy is it that the Pirates are only 7 1/2 games back in the division? the NL Central is this year's "does anyone want to win it" division. they start a 4 game set with an Arizona team who is looking up at the Bucs. i think its very possible to take 3 out of 4. still high on 43 & Game 7, but i'm not throwing in the towel on this season yet. i may be as crazy as a 31 year old las vegas hotel worker who gets called up to fix broken tv's for nfl QB's, but the Pirates aren't out of this thing yet.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

pass some of what your smoking my way Jeff!

I do agree it is insane that aren't all that far back and may have a shot. And since so many people seem to take offense to any statement I make that doesn't bolster the Pirates' front office's public image I had better adhere to the regime or else!

Meet the new boss ,same as the old boss.

jmarinara said...

Free at last, thank God Almighty, we're free at last!!!