When Accardo reported to Las Vegas, he was reeling, unhappy with the decisions made and unsettled by his future with the organization. Before he left, he had emerged as the leader of the 51s' pitching staff and a mentor to several of the team's younger pitchers.
"He would have a tendency to be frustrated when things would happen that obviously were out of his control. He felt that he should be pitching in the big leagues, and rightfully so," said LaRoche, who retired after the 2010 season. "I explained to him that with his background, that whether you get screwed or not, it's over. I told him, 'You are going to pitch in the big leagues again,' and I asked him to be a leader in the bullpen, on the staff and in the clubhouse. He was great. I couldn't have asked for more. He was just outstanding in that role."
In 42 appearances for Las Vegas last season, Accardo went 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA and notched 24 saves. He also refined his pitching repertoire, which LaRoche feels is good enough for him to be a big league closer again.
"He can move the ball, he's got great command, he's got good stuff," LaRoche said. "He throws plenty hard enough, and he can move the ball in both direction and sink it. He's also worked really hard on his straight changeup. He has an arsenal out there, and he's not afraid to throw any of them in any situation. He probably only had two or three bad games a year in the two years I had him. The game was over when I put him in, for the most part."
LaRoche is confident Accardo will benefit from a change of scenery, from being around people who believe in him. For Accardo, that feeling came across in his first phone call with Orioles officials.
"Just the way Buck runs the club, you want to battle for everybody," he said. "I'm not just out here working for myself. I'm still trying to help other people get better. If I can say something that helps a kid, that's great. I'm just going to keep doing whatever I can to help the club. Wherever spots fall, they'll fall, but you got to be ready to pitch in every situation. Every out counts."