Adam LaRoche played hardball and lost…well, maybe he lost. John Heyman tweets that LaRoche agreed to a one-year contract between $4–$5 million. Supposedly, LaRoche turned down a two-year offer from the San Francisco Giants that for $17.5 million. So, that has to be a big let down.
I’m kind of surprised LaRoche decided to settle on this offer. I have him valued at about twice what he’s getting from the D-Backs, and about what the Giants reportedly offered him. If he was willing wait this long, why not wait a little longer? I can see him thinking the market is depressed, and he’s already plenty wealthy ($16m in career earnings), taking a year to reestablish his value and get a longer term deal. Preferences are subjective, but this seems like an awful risk, if this is his motivation.
His signing by the Diamondbacks reminded me that I had yet to comment on Kelly Johnson joining Arizona a few weeks ago. Johnson agreed to a $2.35 million contract to play for one season. Johnson had a bad 2010 that just screams fluke, and has the underlying patience and power skills that normally make a good ballplayer. Even factoring in his bad 2009, I have him as a $7.5 million player. Johnson also supposedly spurned higher offers from other clubs.
The market may very well be way down for these players, but I wonder if there is something that the D-backs are doing to attract players to play for less, especially players looking for a short-term audition. Maybe having the young A.J. Hinch, a controversial hire, was part of the plan to attract such players.