If David Ortiz (at 36 yo) is worth 2/26 then LaRoche is worth at least 3/36.
This has to get done.
he's just a DH, and old, and coming off a year where he played only 90 games, but his past 3 years have been awesome offensively
. He's even dropped his K rate down to ~13%, which is extremely rare for an older hitter. BTW- the 2/$26MM is exactly the Fangraphs contract crowd source amount. WAR-wise, Ortiz's still a 3 to 4 WAR player.
ALR last year was in the 3 - 4 range for the first time, and someof that was due to the position he plays (v. DH) and his defense. That said, I do think 3/$36MM is not too much of a stretch. I'd feel pretty comfortable with 2/$24MM and an option for a 3d year at $12 MM with a $2MM buyout. That is as much guaranteed money as Ortiz, with a reasonable option likely to be picked up if he does not fall off his career averages.
Bringing back ALR on that type of deal allows you to give Skole a year at AA and a year at AAA if you want. I assume Skole will ride a shuttle between the minors and the majors starting sometime next year filling in for injuries, and be ready to push for a bigger role starting in 2013. ALR then becomes a potential trade candidate.