The Red Sox made two relatively small, but helpful trades today. They traded a pair of minor leaguers for 1B Adam LaRoche, formerly of the Pirates. Then they sent a wad of cash along with Julio Lugo to St. Louis for OF Chris Duncan and a player to be named.
LaRoche is a 29 year old lefty with modest power, a tolerable OBP, and solid 1st base defense. He's particularly adept at hitting right-handed pitching, and throughout his career he's been a very good performer in the 2nd half of the season.
LaRoche will be used to give Mike Lowell added time off. Lowell was overly used in April, and the result was a trip to the DL. LaRoche can fill in, especially against righties. LaRoche can also give Youkilis and Ortiz days off. But giving Lowell an extra day off per week will probably help Lowell perform, and definitely help Lowell stay healthy into September and October.
He's also got some playoff experience from his time with the Braves.
Chris Duncan is your token "let's try to get something" kind of guy. He's a career .257 hitter, who's running at a .227 clip this season. He's been optioned to AAA Pawtucket.