On July 31, 2009, the Boston Red Sox made two trades. The first, Justin Masterson and prospects to the Cleveland Indians for catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez, who has payed dividends for the Red Sox.
The other was less blockbuster-ish. The Red Sox acquired first baseman Casey Kotchman from the Atlanta Braves and sending backup first baseman Adam LaRoche, who the Red Sox acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates just nine days earlier for some low-level prospects.
LaRoche impressed most of Red Sox Nation in his six games with the club, hitting .263 (5 for 19) with one home run and 3 RBI. Since the LaRoche was traded to Atlanta, he has been hitting .390 in 23 games (32 for 82), with eight home runs and 18 RBI for the Braves.
Kotchman, on the other hand, has appeared in 16 games, and has been hitting .222 (8 for 36) with one home run and four RBI. Kotchman is a semi-decent left handed bat off the bench, but LaRoche has clearly been the better lefty option off the bench.
Kotchman was originally thought to be the lefthanded version of Mark Teixeira (he was even traded from the Angels to the Braves for him), but has shown that he is best as a backup first baseman.
LaRoche has been the starter everywhere he went, except for Boston. LaRoche might've not liked being the backup, which might've been why the LaRoche-for-Kotchman deal went down.
However, when this deal was announced, most of the people paying attention to the deal thought that the acquisition of Kotchman might've meant a corresponding move, with the Sox sending Kotchman elsewhere.
However, no deal materialized, and the Red Sox were stuck with Kotchman, while LaRoche started tearing the cover off the ball in Atlanta. Whether there was another deal that the Red Sox had in place which they couldn't sneak under the 4:00 trade deadline, we'll never know.
What we will know, however, is that the Red Sox gave up a very streaky hitter, who could've given the offense a spark during those blowouts against the Yankees, for a guy who can't hit very well.
Who would you rather have? LaRoche or Kotchman? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think?