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Nationals and Adam LaRoche not close to resolution

Dec 21, 2012, 10:10 AM EDT

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Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said previously that he’d like a decision from free agent Adam LaRoche before Christmas, but Mark Zuckerman of writes that the two sides haven’t made any real progress in weeks.

According to Zuckerman “there’s little reason to believe a resolution is near” because LaRoche continues to want a three-year deal and the Nationals continue to stick with their initial two-year, $25 million offer.

Part of the issue is that no other teams have stepped forward with major interest in LaRoche, or at least not major interest in LaRoche for three years at age 33 and at the cost of surrendering their first-round draft pick.

Because of that there’s been little pressure on the Nationals to increase their offer and the fact that they also have Michael Morse around as a fallback plan at first base makes them even less likely to cave to LaRoche’s demands.

  1. ezthinking - Dec 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Why isn’t Baltimore all over this? Or the Red Sox, or the Indians, or the A’s, or the Rockies (and trade Colvin/Cuddyer for pitching, any pitching). The Astros should have been all over this instead of Pena. Same defense, better hitter. Mariners could sign him and trade Smoke and Montero for an outfielder or a real third baseman – maybe just any position prospect in that’s a year or two away.

    • icanspeel - Dec 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Probably because they lose a 1st round draft pick along with taking a risk at signing him for 3 years.

    • paperlions - Dec 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      For the Astros it would have been a waste of money, they LaRoche is 33 and won’t be productive when they are next ready to not suck. Same for the Indians, if you are on a limited budget and project to be a below .500 team, spending $12M+/year on a 33 yr old 1B is a waste of money.

      For the A’s, he’s too expensive.

      Baltimore has Chris Davis already, who is nearly as good offensively and much cheaper.

      Boston planned on playing Napoli at 1st a lot, he’s a better hitter than LaRoche and can play catcher too (though neither position very well).

      Seattle traded for Morales, who will be playing a lot of 1B.

      Over the last 4 years, LaRoche has been a below average offensive 1B…..that is a position for sluggers, so the bar is set pretty high. There just isn’t a lot of value in an aging player whose history has been as a below average player

      • alang3131982 - Dec 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        He’s basically worth alot more to the Nats b/c they dont lose a draft pick. Giving 3 years to a 33 year old 1b, who isnt much above average (20-27 HRs, eh, whatves) and forfeiting a #1 draft pick is just a lot for teams I think. They might be overvaluing that pick, but unless a team things LaRoche is the final piece of the puzzle to a play-off team, why sign him?

      • kinggw - Dec 21, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        Napoli is not a better hitter than LaRoche. Napoli is a career .259 hitter and hit .227 last year. LaRoche is a career .268 hitter and hit .271 last season. How exactly did you figure he was a better hitter.

        LaRoche has not been a below average player. He is one of the best if not the best defensive 1st baseman in the league. His biggest problem has always been staying healthy. That being said, I wouldn’t give him three years, but can we stop acting like he’s Carlos Pena.

      • paperlions - Dec 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        First, Napoli is most certainly the better hitter.

        Napoli: .356 OBP, .507 SLG, .371 wOBA, 128 wRC+

        LaRoche: .338 OBP, .482 SLG, .359 wOBA, 112 wRC+

        Those difference are not trivial. Given context and league, Napoli has been the far better hitter. Though it is quaint that you think avg somehow is relevant.

        Second, I didn’t say anything about LaRoche’s defense. I said he had been a below average offensive 1B, which is true.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Tell him you’re from Chicago Rizzo, that should get the deal done.

  3. lphboston - Dec 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Nats are playing this just right.

    ALR might have maxed out his power numbers playing for a contract, and age is starting to become a factor. That third year looks like a unicorn for him and his agent. Once we get to Jan. 1 and there are only six weeks til spring training, DC’s offer will start to look better.

  4. crawdaddybob - Dec 21, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    If they haven’t done so already, they need to just go ahead and offer the third year as a team option or a vesting option based on productivity. I would think it would be easier to negotiate the parameters of that option vs a hardline stance of a guaranteed third year.
    I like him as a player; as a Braves fan I didn’t want to see him leave. He’s a serviceable everyday first baseman and probably has earned a three year deal. Looking at some of the contacts being handed out, this it’s almost a no-brainer.


    Braves Fan

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