Cubs Looking To Close Deal With Adam LaRoche


It appears that the Chicago Cubs have locked onto their top target for their first base vacancy.  With the Cubs being heavily linked to Carlos Pena over the past week, you would expect that Pena is their top target. While the Cubs did meet with Scott Boras last night to talk about Pena, it does not appear that the Cubs have marked Pena as their top candidate for their first base vacancy.

According to Scott Miller of CBS Sports, the Chicago Cubs would like to close the deal with Adam LaRoche soon. Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry has already talked to LaRoche’s agent at the Winter Meetings. With the report by Scott Miller, you would have to think that the Cubs and LaRoche’s agent have already exchanged possible contract numbers. The Washington Nationals also are interested in LaRoche, but it looks like they are more focused on Carlos Pena.

LaRoche is coming off of a disappointing season with the Arizona Diamondbacks as he hit .261/.320/.468 with 25 home runs and 100 runs batted in. Considering the numbers from Carlos Pena last season, it looks as if Adam LaRoche would bring more offensive value to the Cubs than Pena would. From a power standpoint, LaRoche has been very consistent as he has had 25 home runs in each of his past three seasons, along with 80+ RBI’s. The only thing that does scare about LaRoche is that for his career he has an on base percentage of .339.

For his career, LaRoche is a slightly above average fielder at first base, as he does have a career fielding percentage of .995. However, last season was the worst of LaRoche’s career on defense. LaRoche had 11 errors, accumulating to a fielding percentage of .991. I would not put too much into LaRoche’s struggles last season on defense, as for his career, LaRoche has been a solid fielder.

I do not expect that LaRoche will cost as much as Carlos Pena would. That could be a reason why the Cubs have targeted LaRoche over Pena. If I were to guess, I would say that LaRoche will probably get somewhere between $5MM-$7MM. That would be a fit for the Cubs from a financial perspective. Considering that the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Nationals are all in the mix for Carlo Pena, the Cubs are doing the wise thing by staying out of a bidding war for a career .241 hitter.

Even though LaRoche would be a cheaper option for the Cubs, I’m not sure that he is the best fit from a playing standpoint. In 26 games at Wrigley Field for his career, LaRoche is hitting .239/.327/.500 with 6 home runs and 5 doubles. Against the National League Central (Cubs Not Included) in 2010, LaRoche hit .276/.325/.428 with 5 of his 25 home runs. LaRoche would be a good option for the Cubs on a short term deal. I think the Cubs should offer him a one year deal, with a team option for a second year. That would allow the Cubs to still look for a premier free agent first baseman next season if one is available.