When the Dodgers traded Andy LaRoche as part of the Manny Ramirez three-team swap back in late July, many Dodger fans groaned; here was Ned Colletti, once again giving up the future for some grasp at the present. LaRoche, like Matt Kemp, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, and (non-homegrown prospect) Andre Ethier, was one of those players that was just on the cusp of being something special for the Dodgers, but we had not seen any of those glimmers of potential cultivated into solid everyday play at third base, due primarily to untimely injuries and surprising upstarts (like Blake DeWitt).
Now that LaRoche has played almost as many games with the Pirates as he had with the Dodgers, though, let's look at the stats (through Aug 31):
|Dodgers '08||Pirates '08|
Through the end of August, LaRoche had only one multi-hit game with the Pirates (in 24 games). Sadly, this was his only multi-hit game of the entire 2008 season.
LaRoche has a career batting average of .190, an OBP of .311 (Juan Pierre's career OBP, for comparison, is .346), and an OPS+ of 59. Perhaps LaRoche continues to have potential, but a move to a smaller market (to join his brother on the team) has not helped him find that big breakthrough.
I was always kind of neutral on LaRoche, with my only negative comments based on his funny-looking goatee and his short-lived inexplicable switch from "LaRoche" to "La Roche" on his uniform. I hoped he would have done better in Pittsburgh, but it seems that this season, that is unlikely to come to fruition.
And meanwhile, we've got Manny.