Why aren't people nice to Lucas Harrell? The 29-year-old former White Sox hurler, who will always have given us those six decent innings vs. the A's on the night right after Daniel Hudson got traded, signed a contract to play in Japan. It's a new opportunity for him but hardly the crowning achievement of any American pitching career.
On May 2, 2013 David Laurila of FanGraphs posted a detailed profile of Harrell, after he had sinkerballed his way to 193 innings of 107 ERA+ ball the previous season. Two days later the Tigers put up eight runs on him and chased him before the fifth inning in a 17-2 romp, and his results have been trash ever since.
Still, this from Brett Anderson is some unexpected shade.
Image from CBS Sports--Mike Axisa
Apparently it was out of order enough for Anderson to delete the tweet. But the precedent of kicking Lucas while he was down. When Harrell struggled in his first two outings of Spring Training in 2011--you know, the season after those magical six decent innings vs. Oakland--the Sox pulled him out of the race for the long reliever spot and sent him to minor league camp.
It was rough setback for Harrell, one from which at least his White Sox career would never really recover from, and Ozzie Guillen let him know that if he felt bad about it, it was because he should feel bad about it.
"He should be disappointed in himself," Guillen told Mark Gonzales, "We gave him the opportunity."
Good gravy, what did Lucas do to everyone? Don't read any more of those linked-to 2011 Spring Training notes, by the way. They're haunting.
Adam LaRoche officially signs
In this odd arrangement where national reporters break White Sox contract news, it sits unrefuted for a few days until the White Sox deign themselves to acknowledge widely accepted fact, we get Tuesday media availability announcing something well-known.
A lot of nice, sane and obvious talk came out of the LaRoche press availability. Rick Hahn and Robin Ventura both acknowledged Jose Abreu as the primary first baseman, but that LaRoche could play in the field twice a week to keep him fresh. Also mentioned was that LaRoche would slide in between Abreu and Avisail Garcia in the batting order to mess up attempts to play matchups on the two right-handers. I would like to see another capable, above-average hitter slide in front of Garcia still, but you get the point.
Left mostly untouched was the idea of platooning LaRoche, who was dreadful in 2014 against southpaws (75 wRC+) and has a sub-.300 OBP against lefties for his career. If they want to monitor his workload and also not waste his effort, it doesn't look like LaRoche should be getting much more than 500 plate appearances. Dayan Viciedo is hanging around and is an option for this, but righties who can hit lefties--especially when they don't even need to play a position--are unremarkable commodities that can be secured later on. Dead Konerko could hit lefties.
LaRoche also revealed that he never had any intention of seeking out a DH job when he first started looking (he didn't hold out hope for very long, it seems), but sounds pretty deferential about ceding first base reps to Abreu. First of all, if Abreu is fortunate to stay as healthy as he did in 2014, LaRoche wll be needed at first plenty. Second, LaRoche is 35 and is surely cognizant that he's slowing down, and that full-time jobs are at a premium. Or most likely, the Sox offered him the money he wanted and playing the field was a secondary concern.
Scott Carroll was DFA'd to make room for LaRoche on the 40-man roster, which doesn't seem to say great things about organizational plans for Scott Carroll, even if he stays in the fold. As starting depth, he's game, but forgettable. If the Sox saw some of his promising relief outings as signs he could aid their depleted relief corps, they are not showing,
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