Yeah I was confused by the LaRoche/Kotchman trade at first too. But I just don't understand how the Boston media continues have such a poor sense of it.
NESN after the trade: Tom Caron feeding Jim Rice the 'Kotchman is more suited for part-time play' line and Rice, of course, agreeing. That's tolerable, I mean you're entitled to think that. Today I was listening to Toucher and Rich on BCN on the way to work and they were talking to the Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin. I've recently taken a liking to their morning show and I have this recollection of Amalie's work in the Globe being alright, so I thought it could be neat. Talk immediately goes to the Laroche/Kotchman trade. Interesting.
One of the hosts asks what's with the Kotchman trade. Amalie does the part-time playing time thing. Host says 'so it's a downgrade, getting a part-timer for a full-timer, but it's better roster construction for the team'. I'm crossing my fingers that she's going to say that that's at least a little unfair.
Amalie instead agrees with them. I decide it's better to put up with whatever mediocrity WBOS is playing.
Kotchman was intended to be a a full time player ever since the Darin Erstad at first era came to a fortunate close. In 2006 he missed a lot of time with a bad bout of mono. Before that he'd been up and down, if my memory serves, mostly for injury replacement. He's started neighborhood of 140 games per season since. Not really part time stuff. LaRoche has been a full time player longer, but that may be more the result of the Braves not being married to playing a center fielder at first base. Just sayin'. It's also worth noting that at the beginning of his career LaRoche was platooned with Julio Franco, the oldest man alive. If we're going to split hairs over who has more the make-up the part-time player, LaRoche probably has more of a claim.
To me, the situation is pretty clear. LaRoche and Kotchman are very similar players (same career OBP, Kotchman's slugging is somewhat lower). Kotchman is 26 whereas LaRoche is 29, so if we assuming they're on typical career paths, Kotchman is poised to peak, LaRoche is at his peak and likely to trend down. Furthermore, Kotchman is now Red Sox property for two more seasons, whereas LaRoche is a free agent. The Braves were willing to make the trade because LaRoche was a known quantity to them. The Red Sox saw this as an opportunity to get a younger player to play the same role for the remainder of the season and perhaps be a underrated and improving bargain in subsequent ones.
There's nothing really that controversial or analytical about this, so I'm really not sure why sports journalists have created this alternate reality when a perfectly nice one already exists! I mean the whole 'I'm smarter than the media' thing is pretty hackneyed and obnoxious, but I'm really at a loss here!
All I know is that if I were the Kotch, next person to call me better suited as a part-timer would get a part-timer's foot up their ass.