Seems that Adam LaRoche can’t do anything that pleases the Braves. He has passed in and out of their hands like an unwelcome relative. Three years ago, he was traded to the Pirates for one of those closer types, Mike Gonzales—who has since been allowed to take flight to Baltimore.
First base has become the Braves’ toxic position. They next gave Scott Thorman a shot at the job, and that was a choice poorly made. Then you’ll recall the blockbuster gamble, when they raped the farm system of four gold-star prospects and exchanged them for Mark Teixeira from Texas, well-knowing that they probably wouldn’t be able to keep him. And before they even tried, they traded him to California for Casey Kotchman and an undistinguished pitcher. By this time, Teixeira has become an $80-million commodity, played in an All-Star game, and found financial happiness with the Yankees.
Meanwhile, the Braves have traded Kotchman to Boston for guess who? Adam LaRoche. He’s back again and looking good, hitting .325 with 12 home runs, 40 RBI and playing with the same impeccable defense around the bag. What more could one ask? Well, it turns out the front office has decided that LaRoche is more than they’re willing to ante up, now that he has become expensive, oh, say $8 or $9-million.
So what do they do? They settle for a converted third baseman, who happens to be on the mend after a season of virtual inactivity. You’ll remember Troy Glaus as a third baseman when he played for California, Toronto and St. Louis. He will play first base for the Braves because he’s cheap, $2 million, so I hear. See, all they want is one season out of him, for in the wings there’s a rookie named Freddie Freeman, who is projected to ripen in time for the 2011 season. So, Glaus is only a stop-gap—-unless Chipper Jones should breaks down, then Glaus can return to his native position, which is third base.
Oh, well. Funny stuff to me, but they nearly got away with it last season, when first base became a position for volunteers. Remember a few years ago, when the Braves low-balled Mark DeRosa? Then he took free agency and came back a $14-million star with the Rangers, Cubs, Cleveland and the Cardinals.