The search for organizational depth continued today; the Blue Jays have signed corner infielder Andy LaRoche to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
LaRoche, 29, spent last season between triple-A splitting time between the Indians and Red Sox organizations. He posted a .251 avg, .335 obp, .422 slg batting line, with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 41 RBIs. He last played in the Majors in 2011, batting .247 with a .654 OPS in 40 games for the A’s.
LaRoche does have Major League experience; he has totalled 403 games with the Dodgers, Pirates and A’s over parts of five seasons. He was the Pirates everyday third baseman in 2009, posting a .258 avg, .330 obp, .401 slg batting line with 12 homers and 64 RBIs in 150 games. He also has the ability to play 1B.
The right-handed hitter is a career .226 hitter in the Majors, with a notably better minor league numbers. He holds a .285 avg, .372 obp, .492 slg batting line in eight Minor League seasons.
I see this move as insurance on aging Mark DeRosa, whom the Jays signed to fill the 25th bench spot on the MLB roster. If DeRosa gets hurt, look for LaRoche to get the call and possibly platoon with Adam Lind if Lind struggles against lefty pitching. It’s no secret the Jays want a right handed bat that can spell Lind if he struggles vs. tough southpaws. I’ve said it before, I thought Russ Canzler was the perfect fit. However, DeRosa with LaRoche as back up isn’t too shabby for the 25th spot on the roster.
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