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.