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Adam LaRoche is gone

July 22, 2009 - John Mehno

Much to everyone's surprise, the Pirates traded Adam LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.

In return they get two minor league players, shortstop Argenis Diaz and pitcher Hunter Strickland.

Diaz is supposed to be an accomplished fielder who is still growing as a hitter. I think he'll be Jack Wilson's replacement. Diaz had been playing at Class AA, but the Pirates will send him to Class AAA Indianapolis to play every day.

Strickland is another arm for depth and competition within the organization.

The surprise here is that the Pirates could move LaRoche. Trade interest in him had been non-existent for a long time, owing to his modest production, his tendency to hit in streaks, and his contract. LaRoche is eligible for free agency after this season, and the Pirates had no interest in bringing him back. Boston will pick up the remainder of his contract, about $2.3 million.

Garrett Jones will get more time at first base, his natural position, and the Pirates are moving toward opening an outfield spot for Lastings Milledge. But Milledge is staying at Class AAA for now. Steve Pearce has been called up and will join the team in Arizona tomorrow. GM Neal Huntington says the Pirates want to get an extended look at Pearce.

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