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Orioles “have legitimate interest” in Adam LaRoche

Dec 18, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Adam LaRoche Reuters Reuters

Amid reports that Adam LaRoche and the Nationals “are at a stalemate” in contract negotiations Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes that the Orioles “have legitimate interest” in signing the free agent first baseman.

That makes on-field sense, as the Orioles have made it clear they’re looking to add another a good bat to the middle of the lineup, but signing LaRoche would require forfeiting their first-round pick. Adding that to the cost of actually signing him–which might be around $35 million for three years–and that’s an awfully big price to pay for a good but not great 32-year-old first baseman.

LaRoche hit .271 with 33 homers in 154 games this year, posting an .853 OPS that ranked seventh among the 24 first basemen with 400-plus plate appearances. His career OPS is .820 and he hasn’t cracked a .900 OPS since 2006. Baltimore is scheduled to pick 24th overall in June’s draft.

  1. southpaw2k - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Okay, time for another “This may be a dumb question, but….”

    Why would signing La Roche mean the Orioles would have to forfeit their first-round draft pick? I don’t know enough about MLB’s draft rules to make the connection. I don’t think any of the other major sports have a set up like that, though I’m mostly familiar with the NFL’s system.

  2. yousuxxors - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Has to do with the team he was on making a qualifying offer. If he rejects and signs elsewhere … The elsewhere team gives up a pick … I think

    • someguyinva - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Correct. In addition, the team losing the free agent gets a compensatory pick between rounds 1 and 2 (a.k.a. a sandwich pick.)

      A primer on the compensation system is here – http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/20763514/how-the-new-free-agent-compensation-system-works

  3. dowhatifeellike - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    A first round pick is a 50/50 proposition to even make it to the bigs. We know LaRoche can play. Pay the man and fill that gaping hole in the roster.

    • alang3131982 - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      O’s need to continue to get younger. If you wouldnt trade the pick for the player, why sign the player? There is no doubt LaRoche will likely help the 2013 O’s. Will he help teh 2014 or 2015? Further, will he be the difference in making the play-offs? That’s kind of doubtful.

      In addition, it’s not like it’s that hard to find a solid hitting 1B, the O’s should really be careful about throwing away a draft pick to sign someone who moves them from a 78 win team to 81 wins.

      • rockthered1286 - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        who is out there that you would rather have at first? not sarcastic. completely serious. and by saying he won’t make a difference in making the playoffs, does that mean you’re pretty much accepting a step back this year in order to save a draft pick that may work out in 3-6 years?

      • alang3131982 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        That’s exactly what i’m saying. Yanks, Blue Jays, Rays all better right now. the Sox arent a joke either. The O’s were great last year but a lot went right…expecting that to continue seems faulty.

        it’s also first base. it’s not hard to fake it at 1b. The O’s still have Betemit…who has a career 824 OPS against righties. Really you only need a righty who can hit lefties….Reimold can do that. Lance Berkman can do that.

        heck go out and grab Luke Scott on the cheap if you dont like Betemit. Delmon Young has always hit lefties well…it’s not hard to fake it there…

    • natstowngreg - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      If you care only about next season, you’re right. However, most teams care beyond next season.

      What we don’t know is, what is the Orioles’ timeframe? Is Angelos pressuring Duquette to win now, the longer run be damned? If so, LaRoche makes a lot of sense.

      If Duquette has leeway to build a team for the longer haul, then losing the top draft pick is something to think about. Doesn’t mean he ignores LaRoche, but he has to consider the longer-term consequences.

      • alang3131982 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        I dont really care about first base in 2013. I’d prefer Swisher to be incredibly honest.

        The AL East is absolutely loaded. The O’s probably have the worst offense and worst pitching staff in the league. The second wild card makes that a bit more manageable but I really doubt Adam LaRoche is the difference in making the play-offs and not. If it comes down to that, I’m fine with the O’s saying, we didnt think he’d be the difference and we wanted to keep the pick.

        There have been many solid players taken at 24: Taylor Guerrieri, Gary Brown, Chad Billingsley, Joe Blanton, Rondell White, Alex Fernandez, Terry Mulholland. Sure they are just as likely to get a dud, but I’d rather them save the money and use it one someone who is likely a difference maker once we know what the pitching staff is like. You can fudge 1B, and get away with it, the O’s did it last season…

      • rockthered1286 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        I can agree with you to an extent Greg, but the O’s record of correctly evaluating and drafting talent… leaves something to be desired. From 2000-09 the O’s have had FIFTEEN 1st rd picks. Of that group, the only ones to make it to the majors are Wieters, Markakis and Matusz for 1-2 month stretches before he falls off and drops back down. That’s beyond terrible. And granted, we have a new group of scouts and talent evaluators in place that seem to be better than years past, but I still can’t help but feel uneasy when it comes to O’s draft picks and assuming they’ll become something. Anything really.

      • alang3131982 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        the way i view it: the draft pick is a lottery ticket. Adam Laroche is a moderate improvement at best, and he’ll likely not be worth the contract he gets. The Orioles need all the help they can get, a moderate improvement wont do it, so give the team as many bullets/lottery tickets as you can to try and get some real talent.

        Adam Laroche just isnt that good….

  4. rockthered1286 - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    I don’t like all of this “need to be younger” and “he’ll only help for one year” talk. Our last 3 1st round picks? Looks like they’ll pan out. Manny looked great in his short season last year, Bundy made his way up and Gausman is our #2 prospect. But the difference in this draft? The O’s aren’t taking a top 10 talent this year. They’re going mid-late which means they’ll be taking more of a gamble on a pick. Take that into consideration along with the time it takes for a draft pick to develop and make it to the bigs, I can see no reason that we don’t take a stab at LaRoche. Sign him for 3 years, which givies a guy like Nicky Delmonico plenty of time to mature and in due time, step into the 1B role. In terms of youth, the rest of this team IS young. Why continue to get younger and risk having a gaping hole in this lineup in 2013? So the O’s have a few options:
    1- Sign ALR, lose a 1st round pick who may not pan out.
    2- Do nothing, hope your entire team stays healthy and rotate Davis, McLouth and Remiold between LF,1B and DH.
    3- Make a trade to upgrade 1B and give up a minor league talent.
    4- Sign a FA who would be a downgrade from Reynolds (I don’t see ANY other FA’s out there who would be an upgrade). Maybe gamble on a Thome to DH and Davis at 1B?

    To me? Seems to be obvious that bringing in LaRoche is your best option. You don’t need to gamble on a healthy Reimold (if he gets hurt you end up dipping into your minors or bringing in a vet on a minor league deal which is a downgrade), you don’t need to sacrifice a proven minor league talent to upgrade the position, and your not losing pop in the lineup to replace Reynolds (as I said, no upgrades out there). I just cannot foresee any instance where accepting a loss of power in your already vulnerable lineup is a good thing, and we have no proven talent at 1B in the minors ready to move up in 2013.

    Then again. This is Angelos we’re talking about here.

  5. lphboston - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Just an opinion here. Nothing more.

    ALR is excellent defensively and if you have issues in the infield, especially on the left side, he can help you out a lot.

    But if Duquette is making the call (and with Baltimore that’s not a sure thing), he had best be careful. ALR may have maxed out his power output, and it’s easy to see if drop to 20-25 this coming year, then into the 15-20 range in his mid-30s.

  6. DJ MC - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I don’t really want to pay $12 million a season for the age 33-35 years of a player who just had his best year since he was 26 and isn’t likely to hit 30 homers again.

  7. rockthered1286 - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Actually, scratch my previous comment. I’m okay without LaRoche because I realized that we have 2 MLB “ready” OF’s in the minors- Xavier Avery and LJ Hoes. Both came up for a stint this year, and quite frankly, to see one of them come up and platoon with McLouth, then have Reimold DH and move Davis to 1B? I think I’d be perfectly fine with that. We wouldn’t be sacrificing speed, as McLouth, Avery and Hoes all have some wheels. And Davis proved himself a reliable 1B last year prior to Reynolds stepping in. If he needs a break Reimold can take the field for a day. The issue comes into play if Remiold goes down… again. But hopefully keeping him at DH and off the field will help reduce the likelihood that he goes down again.

    This could work out just fine for me. Although I’m still pretty bummed that not only did the O’s make zero moves this offseason, it seems like they didn’t even bother to improve in ANY area (and no, adding Casilla as a utilityman is not an improvement- he’s essentially Andino v2.0). BP was 3rd in MLB last year and stayed in tact. Starting rotation of Hammel, Chen, Gonzalez, Tillman and possibly Wada isn’t a terrible thing (wouldn’t mind Saunders coming back). The only 2 positions that could’ve used improvement were LF and 2B. Lose Reynolds and now 1B is added to the list. Nothing has improved at all.

    However I’m still glad that we didn’t mortgage our entire future for a bunch of question marks. Looks at you Jays.

  8. nmrdr795 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    They also have a legitimate chance at finishing behind the Yankees again next year.

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