Theo Epstein was on a conference call today, and Extra Bases dishes by saying the LaRoche deal had been in the works for months and was not a knee-jerk reaction to the recent offensive struggles.
LaRoche will not be activated until Friday (the Sox have an off-day tomorrow). Epstein also hopes to make more moves before the deadline:
I think we plan to be very active in discussions in talking to just about every club out there and pursuing every player that can make us better now and in the future. Certainly, there are no guarantees. Certainly, we hope to make another move between now and the deadline.
Epstein went on to mention that he would like to upgrade the position player depth and performance against right-handed pitching but would not marry himself to those statements.
Peter Gammons updated his ESPN Insider blog recently, and has this to say:
This deal has been on the table for three weeks, and after losing their fourth straight game on Tuesday and declining to trade Clay Buchholz for Victor Martinez, Theo Epstein took LaRoche.
The Red Sox will work LaRoche, Mike Lowell and David Ortiz in the first base, DH and third-base spots, with Kevin Youklis moving back and forth between first and third.
The Red Sox felt they had to move Wednesday because the Pirates had a deal to send LaRoche to another team in exchange for a better offer than Argenis Diaz and Hunter Strickland, but Boston was willing to take on his entire salary. This trade will not preclude Epstein's pursuit of an impact player such as Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez or others.
I'm not surprised Theo turned down moving Buchholz for Victor Martinez—the word is that Clay moves only for a young power-hitter. Victor doesn't qualify as young anymore. If the Indians were willing to do a trade with Michael Bowden, I think Theo would pull the trigger.