The Chicago White Sox signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal worth $25 million on Friday, as reported by USA Today's Bob Nightengale. After registering 20-plus home runs in each of the last three seasons (including a career-high 33 in 2012) with the Nationals, LaRoche will switch leagues and combine with AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu in the middle of the White Sox lineup to form a powerful duo.
LaRoche earned $12 million last season, plus a $2 million buyout of his contract by the Nationals for the upcoming 2015 season, so this two-year deal falls right in line with his previous salary. He was also well worth the money last year: In addition to his 26 home runs and 92 RBI, LaRoche posted his lowest strikeout rate since 2005, his second year in the majors, while also drawing walks at a greater rate than in any other full season of his career.
Though Abreu and LaRoche play the same position in the field, the two figure to switch off between first base and DH, although LaRoche is viewed as the better fielder after winning a Gold Glove in 2012 and coming in as a finalist in 2014. The advanced metrics don't indicate as much, however, as LaRoche's career UZR/150 is -1.9 and his -5.2 mark last season was his worst since 2008.
The White Sox, already an above-average offensive team after hitting 155 home runs in 2014—good for eighth in the majors—and scoring 660 runs, good for 13th-best, now feature a formidable lineup that also includes Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez at the top of the order, as well as Conor Gillaspie (.282/.336/.416 in 130 games) and Avisail Garcia, who is returning from a torn labrum that limited him to 46 games in 2014. While pitching remains a serious question mark for the Sox, LaRoche will nevertheless strengthen an offense that rated among the better overall lineups last season.