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Another possibility at first base for the Chicago Cubs just came on the market as the Arizona Diamondbacks declined their $7.5 million ($1.5 million buyout) option on first baseman Adam LaRoche. LaRoche, 31, played good defense and had 25 homers and 100 RBI, but had an OPS under .800 (.788) for the first time since 2005.

LaRoche is expected to get another one-year, $6 millionish deal this Winter, so he makes for a pretty interesting move for the Cubs. His solid defense makes Derrek Lee’s departure more tolerable, and his left-handed semi-power bat certainly fills a need in the Cubs’ lineup. And on a one-year deal, his signing would leave open the possibility of pursuing Adrian Gonzalez next year.

The downsides, of course, include the risk that LaRoche is in decline. While he isn’t old, he is on the side of 30 where players tend to start that gradual march toward disappointing seasons, and LaRoche’s 2010 was arguably his worst in half a decade. Also, the Cubs have to decide whether they want to go after Adam Dunn, who would likely reciprocate any interest. He’s expected to cost twice as much as LaRoche for more than twice as many years, but he’s also a plainly better hitter.

h/t The Friendly Blogfines.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    My thoughts on 1B are these. There are cheaper and shorter term options out there than Dunn. Don’t get me wrong. His bat in the lineup would be great. And I could live with his defense. I just wouldn’t put that much money into a contract for a 1B when there are so many options available. Use the money for a stud SP, if one’s available.

  • greg

    Now this I can get behind. If he’s willing to sign a 1 year deal, do it and wait for Gonzalez to become available via trade or free agency. He’ll provide some decent pop, and we need that defense in a young and/or error prone infield.

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