LaRoche to the Desert

Reports earlier in the winter had Adam LaRoche seeking a 3 year, $30 million contract. That was laughable, as everyone knew he wasn’t going to get that, not in this market. Last week, a report came out that he had turned down 2 years and $17 million from the San Francisco Giants. Now, LaRoche has apparently accepted reality, as Sports Illustrated reports that he’s signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for something between $4 and $5 million.

Unfortunately for LaRoche, he had to learn the lesson of this market the hard way. A few teams were willing to shell out real money for a few high-end players, but the bottom has completely fallen out of the low-end market. Average-ish players simply can’t get big money deals right now. And that’s exactly what LaRoche is – an average player headed into his decline phase.

Still, this is a pretty darn good deal for the D’Backs. They get a solid first baseman for 2010 at little cost, allowing them to use Conor Jackson in left field. He adds somewhere between +1 and +2 wins to their team, and, if Arizona is not contending, should be a pretty decent trade chip at the deadline for a team that needs a low cost first baseman.

For LaRcohe, I’m sure this is not the contract he thought he would have to settle for. But it’s the reality of this market. The remaining +2 win-ish players looking for jobs should take note. The jobs are drying up, and you better take a deal when you can, because the offers aren’t going to get any better.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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This is a windfall for teams looking for cheap wins. LaRoche might have been silly to think he could have gotten that big a market deal, but he’s been a decent player for the last few years and he should still be decent in 2010. Teams on the fringes of competition with position holes should take note, because there are definitely cheap wins to be had left in the market.