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Adam LaRoche’s status in Washington is unclear amid Prince Fielder rumors

Jan 4, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

laroche swing Getty Images

Adam LaRoche has seen the reports about the Nationals’ pursuit of Prince Fielder, but the would-be starting first baseman told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he understands if the team tries to replace him:

All I can tell you is, I don’t hold any grudges either way. If [Fielder doesn't sign with the Nationals] and I’m the guy, I’ll be out there every day and [will] do everything I possibly can. If it does [happen] and I need to move on, hey, it’s a business move. They are trying to put the best possible team on the field. I think they feel like their time is now to get to the top of the division. Hopefully, I’ll be a part of it. If not, that’s life.

It probably helps LaRoche’s attitude that he’ll be paid $8 million in 2012 either way, but he’s also coming off shoulder surgery that cost him most of last season and is no doubt focused on simply getting his own career back on track. He played just 43 games, hitting .172 with three homers before going under the knife in June.

Ladson speculates that even if the Nationals do sign Fielder they would hold on to LaRoche until spring training, so he could show interested teams that his shoulder is healthy. In the meantime he’s “feeling great” and has been throwing and hitting for several weeks. Presumably the Nationals would have to eat some of his $8 million salary to move LaRoche regardless of when it happens.

  1. Stiller43 - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Maybe it’s because i hit over 200 homers in a season with him in an 07 (06) themed baseball game on wii, but i wouldnt mind seeing him back with the buccos…not for 8 mil though.

  2. fastwillie39 - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    @stiller
    I was thinking the same thing about LaRoche, but with 8 million guaranteed, he might just sit until a contender needs a bat, as long as the bucs don’t take back the other LarRoche!

  3. stex52 - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    8 MM$ is a definite overpay for a first baseman with his stats over the last four years. I agree that he probably means what he says and probably wants to get himself re-established. I hadn’t looked at his numbers until now, but Fielder would be a big step up. But I bet they can’t cut a deal until late July.

  4. Jonny 5 - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Does Boras have Mike Rizzo under some sort of hypnosis? With that said, Boras clients really aren’t making any big splashes this off season. What gives?

    • natstowngreg - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Actually, this off-season has been a bit encouraging, because Rizzo hasn’t gone in for major, Werth-style overbidding.

      Meanwhile, he has filled one of the team’s 2 biggest needs (SP) using his stockpile of young talent. In this, Rizzo is implementing the Braves model that Stan Kasten brought with him to Washington.

      I have a bit of concern about Boras’ relationship with Rizzo and the Lerners, based on the Werth deal. I don’t have concern based on the Strasburg and Harper deals, because of the unique situation. Being the worst team in MLB 2 years in a row, the Nats happened upon two of the best prospects of their generation, and Boras happened to be their agent.

      Bottom line: Hopefully, the Nats will be able to say “no, thanks” to Boras, instead of giving Prince the ridiculous amount he wants. Hopefully.

  5. kinggw - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Whats unclear? If the Nats sign Fielder they will move LaRoche, if not he stays.

    • natstowngreg - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      What’s unclear:

      — Will LaRoche really be ready for the season?

      — Will the Nats sign Prince?

      — If the Nats sign Prince, and LaRoche is ready to play, can Rizzo find someone to take LaRoche?

      • sumerduckman - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        – If the Nats sign Prince, and LaRoche is ready to play, can Rizzo find someone to take LaRoche?

        If they did sign Prince, and LaRoche is ready to play, they could possibly move/shift him to left field until the middle of the season when they are probably/possibly going to bring up Harper, and then trade LaRoche . He’s never played left, but they pulled it off with Soriano and Dunn on occasion.

        That would give Mr. Johnson the line-up that few clubs would want to face.

        1. Ian Desmond ss
        2. Danny Espinosa 2b or J. Werth cf
        3.Ryan Zimmerman 3b
        4. Prince Fielder 1b
        5.M.Morse rf
        6.J. Werth or Espinosa
        7. LaRoche lf or Harper
        8. W Ramos c
        9 pitcher

      • brewcitybummer - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        Summerduckman
        That’s the sort of outfield you put together in franchise mode in the show where you have all power hitters playing out of position. The weird thing is you might be right.

      • natstowngreg - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        Davey Johnson seems to think Werth can play CF every day. But Werth in CF flanked by Morse and LaRoche could be terrible defensive OF.

        The way Davey is talking, Werth will bat 2nd behind Desmond (unless Rizzo can come up with a leadoff-hitting OF). I could see this lineup if Prince signs:

        Desmond, SS
        Werth, CF
        Zimmerman, 3B
        Fielder, 1B
        Morse, LF
        Espinosa, 2B
        Bernadina/TBD, RF
        Ramos, C
        Strasburg/Gonzalez/Zimmermann/Lannan/Wang or Detwiler, P

  6. fastwillie39 - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Adam laroche will not play outfield ever!!! most likely it will be Bernadina, werth and morse. They will hold onto Laroche and trade him at some point. Nast also signed mike Cameron and Jason Michaels and Xavier Paul

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