After trading away DH Adam Dunn, the Chicago White Sox were in need of a potent left-handed hitter to team with star slugger Jose Abreu in the middle of their line-up. The White Sox got their man on Friday, when they signed free agent Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal. The deal was first reported by Bob Nightengale on Twitter.
LaRoche is coming off of a strong season with the Washington Nationals, during which he hit .259/.362/.455 with 25 homers and 92 RBI. LaRoche has hit at least 20 homers in every season since 2005 -- with the exception of an injury-shortened 2011 season -- and he has 243 for his career. He has always been a patient hitter. LaRoche finished sixth in the NL in walks last season and owns a career .340 OBP. LaRoche has played his entire career in the National League, save a nine-game stint with the Boston Red Sox in 2009. He spent the last four seasons with the Nationals.
The White Sox finished eighth in the American League in runs scored in 2014. They were tied for fourth in the league in homeruns with 155, but they struggled to get on-base, posting a .310 OBP as a team. LaRoche should help the White Sox in both categories.
Chicago finished in the middle of the pack in the AL against right-handed pitching (705 team OPS). LaRoche had an 891 OPS versus right-handers last season. His OPS versus lefties was 620.
LaRoche may see a significant amount of playing time at DH, as Abreu was the White Sox's everyday first baseman last season. LaRoche has had some back issues the past few seasons, so DHing could keep him on the field more. He was a much better hitter at home last year than on the road, but LaRoche should benefit from playing his home games at the offense-friendly US Cellular Field.
This is the White Sox's second free agent signing this week. They signed left-handed reliever Zach Duke to a three-year deal earlier this week.