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say_hello_to_our_old_friend_braves_swap_casey_kotchman_for_adam_laroche | July | 2009 Articles

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Say Hello to Our Old Friend: Braves Swap Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche

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It's true: Adam LaRoche is a Brave again. And all it cost us was Casey Kotchman, who has been disappointing since the Teixeira trade.

I don't quite understand why the Sox preferred Kotch to LaRoche -- they're both lefty first basemen, and the Sox just got Victor Martinez to play 1B. And LaRoche hasn't been having a great year either, just .248/.326/.446; Kotchman's at .282/.354/.409, which is really no worse. LaRoche has better power than Kotchman, but Kotchman has better strike zone judgment. (Kotchman has more walks than strikeouts this year: LaRoche has twice as many strikeouts as walks.)

Also, while LaRoche is in his free agent year, Kotchman has one more year of arbitration eligibility, and Kotchman's $2.885 million contract is far less than LaRoche's $7.05 million -- I don't know how the money was structured in his trade from the Pirates or in the deal, but either way, I'm guessing Adam will cost more for the rest of the year than Casey will. He will certainly cost more if we decided to offer arbitration in the offseason in the hopes of getting prospects if he walks.

Of course, the Braves could always use more power, and for his career LaRoche has been a better hitter than Casey. Maybe a return to Atlanta will help him fulfill his destiny as a pretty good 6th- or 7th-place hitter. Or maybe it's just a wash. We'll see.

Update: So it turns out that Boston's sending cash to the Braves to cover the difference in Adam and Casey's salaries. Moneywise, there's now no difference between the two. And if Adam heats up in the second half like he often does, it'll be well worth it.
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