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Report: White Sox sign Adam LaRoche to 2-year, $25M deal

The White Sox officially moved on from the Paul Konerko era Friday, signing veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million contract, USA Today reported.

LaRoche, 35, hit .259 with 26 home runs and 92 RBI last season with the Washington Nationals.

He will split time between the designated hitter spot and first base with 2014 American League Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu. That might be an adjustment for LaRoche who has spent his entire career playing in the field. In his 11 seasons, he has made six starts as a designated hitter.

LaRoche won a Gold Glove in 2012. But with Abreu considered the future of the organization at first base, he should get the majority of the starts at first. The addition of LaRoche does provide manager Robin Ventura a better fielding option when the situation may dictate the necessity. At minimum, it should help keep Abreu fresh throughout the year.

The Sox have had a productive week with the signings of reliever Zach Duke and LaRoche, addressing two of their biggest needs this offseason heading into next month’s winter meetings in San Diego.

With the retirement of Konerko and the departure of Adam Dunn in a trade last season with Oakland, the Sox needed to look to add power to their lineup this offseason, particularly on the left side. The left-handed hitting LaRoche’s home run and RBI totals both would have ranked second on the Sox last season.

LaRoche is coming off the best three-year power stretch of his career. After hitting a career high 33 homer runs in 2012, he followed that up with seasons of 20 and 26 home runs. He has also proven dependable over the last three years, having played in at least 140 games. Most encouraging, LaRoche’s 108 strike outs was his second-lowest total in seasons in which he has played at least 140 games.

The move makes the Sox lineup even stronger after a 2014 campaign in which the team tied for seventh in Major League Baseball with 155 home runs and ranked 13th with 660 runs scored. Depending on where Ventura slots LaRoche he could help to break up right-handed hitters Abreu and Avisail Garcia, another prized young Sox player who was limited to only 46 games with the club before tearing the labrum in his left shoulder.

LaRoche spent the past four seasons with the Nationals. Washington didn’t look to re-sign him because the organization wants to move Ryan Zimmerman from third to first base. While with the Nationals, LaRoche provided a much-needed veteran presence on a team with promising young talent.

Presumably the Sox are hoping he can have the same effect on a team with a similar dynamic. The move appears to validate suggestions by the organization that team will contend for the playoffs this season.

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen