Monday, November 26, 2012

The Durability of LaRoche

Adam LaRoche is still out there on the free agent market, and, in 5 out of the last 7 seasons, has hit at least 20 homers, had at least 80 RBI, played in at least 140 games and had at least 550 plate appearances.  During this time, he's maintained batting average and OBP levels of .270 / .340, so he can swing for contact and get on base at a steady rate.  Last season, he had 33 HR and 100 RBI.  He also just won a gold glove, in case you're worried about him being a defensive liability.  And if you're down with the Red Sox focus on bringing in hitters who are patient at the plate, this player had an average of 4.04 pitches per plate appearance last year -- 10th in the National League.

He also wants a 3 year contract.

Mike Napoli, on the other hand, wants a four year deal.  He's only played in 140 games in a season once, he's never had 550 plate appearances in a season, he hits less homers, drives in less runs, and he's batting average dropped 93 points from 2011 to 2012.  If you're a Bill James stats purist, that drop in batting average was followed by a drop in OBP by 71 points.

So Mike Napoli is barely a full time player, meaning he's not durable, yet he could command a 4 year, $40-50 million contract this off-season.  LaRoche is a left handed hitter, and Napoli is a righty, so the two arguments I see going for Napoli is that you can place him behind Papi in the batting order and he's a couple of years younger than LaRoche.  Of course, if the Red Sox sign Cody Ross, then he could hit fourth and LaRoche could hit behind him, which might give Ross more fastballs to knock over the monster.

You know, I still just don't see why the fuck we're talking about Mike Napoli.

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