There certainly has been a lot of talk of interest by other teams in our 30-homer first baseman. I wonder if the Braves are really serious about trading away one of their budding stars like Adam LaRoche.
If we assume that the real Adam LaRoche is in fact the hitter we saw in the second half of last year, then his yearly totals would indeed be gaudy. If we simply double his second half performance then his yearly numbers might look something like this:
BA-.323 / HR-38 / RBI-96 / R-98
Not a bad line for a corner infielder in any league. We could also safely assume that the RBI and Run totals would be higher with more at-bats (he didn't get as many at-bats in the second half as the first). Now that's a lot of assumption, but there are plenty of teams out there looking at the .655 slugging percentage and the 1.042 OPS he put together in the second half and believe he's the real deal.
He adds further value as a left-handed batter who learned to hold his own against left-handed pitchers and absolutely crush right-handed pitchers. If you are a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates with a lineup full of right-handed hitters, then you need to plug a lefty in there to make the lineup stronger. LaRoche would seem to be a better fit than the guy they currently have penciled in (Xavier Nady).
All we've heard so far is the usually idle speculation and "lobby-talk" from the Winter Meetings, but there's been so much talk with respect to LaRoche that you have to believe there are several teams who are serious about wanting to acquire him.
The options to replace LaRoche if the Braves do trade him would be Scott Thorman or perhaps a move to first by Chipper Jones. Moving Jones to first would open up a hole at third which would need to be plugged via a trade, as there is no one within the system ready to step, unless they were thinking Willy Aybar. It wouldn't be too pretty replaceing LaRoche, but if we got significant upgrades to our pitching staff it might be worth trading him since we do have Thorman and possibly Chipper to replace him at first.
Update [2006-12-5 14:20:31 by gondeee]: From ESPN's Jayson Stark at the Winter Meetings:
One of the most intriguing position players available this week is Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche, who has been shopped to a number of teams. The Braves believe that Scott Thorman -- who had 16 extra-base hits in 128 at-bats after a late-season recall -- is ready to step in and play first right now. Which would make LaRoche expendable in the right deal.
So the Braves are trying to shop him...very interesting.