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Red Sox probably aren’t serious about Adam LaRoche

Dec 30, 2012, 3:12 PM EDT

adam laroche nationals getty Getty Images

The Red Sox have been linked in recent weeks to free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. But it sounds like he is merely being used as leverage while the Boston decision-makers attempt to work out a hip injury clause in their yet-to-be-finalized three-year, $39 million contract with Mike Napoli.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are keeping LaRoche in their sights but “really don’t want to give up a draft pick to sign him.”

LaRoche rejected a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Nationals in November, so Washington will get draft pick compensation if he heads to another team this winter. From the Red Sox, it would be a second-rounder in 2013. Napoli, for some reason, was not tendered a qualifying offer from the Rangers.

LaRoche batted .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI in 154 games this past season for the Nats. The 33-year-old also earned Gold Glove honors for his exceptional defense around the first base bag.

  1. markofapro - Dec 30, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    “Napoli, for some reason, was not tendered a qualifying offer from the Rangers”….what?

    • dcfan4life - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      Since Napoli was always looking for a multiple year deal, the Rangers could have easily tendered a 1 year deal he likely would have rejected, allowing them to receive a draft pick as compensation just like Laroche. But the Rangers didnt, “for some reason”…

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:12 AM

      Bozos don’t have any more 3 year /39 mil contracts left……………………

  2. Old Gator - Dec 30, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    And LaRoche, in turn, is probably keenly aware of it.

  3. uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Why would a team that finished in last place and went 69-93 in 2012 and one that needs a 1st baseman be serious about signing a guy who batted .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI in 154 games this past season for the Nationals? He can only make them better,

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      Because he’s 33 years old and wants a 3 year deal. They probably don’t want to be stuck with a guy for 3 seasons at an age most players begin to decline

      • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        Apparently they would rather try and work on contract language for a 31 year old 1st baseman/part time catcher with an obvious hip issue/problem for 3 years and $39MM.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:04 PM

        What is the hip issue anyways? It may not be that big of an issue, just a reason for them to put language in the contract to get out of it if he doesn’t perform. Either way a 3 year deal for a 31 year old is still better than a 3 year deal for a 33 year old.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:43 PM

        brewcrew, come on the MLBPA would NEVER stand for a team putting into a players contract language that allows them to get out of it just because a player didn’t perform.

        Thje Sox and Napoli agreed to a contract on Dec. 3rd it is now nearly 30 days later. There is obviously an issue here.

      • Glenn - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        It’s not a clause put in there “in case he doesn’t perform” but protection for a specific pre-existing condition. JD Drew had one, Lackey has one that gives them another year of him for league minimum, and Jason Bay went elsewhere because he didn’t want to sign one. I’m surprised more teams don’t try to include these clauses in their contracts.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 30, 2012 at 6:33 PM

        Of course the union wouldn’t let them put a clause in for nonperformance. It would be disguised as the hip issue thing though for good reason. And thats probably a reason why they still haven’t come to agreement on the contract.

    • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      Well, it could be because 2012 was easily his best season since 2006, he just turned 33, he wants 3 years, he’s nearly as likely to repeat his 2010 or 2011 performances (when he was average and sucked, respectively) as he is to repeat his 2012 performance, and because based on that track record it is rather unlikely that you get even one 2012-like performance from him when he is 33, 34, or 35.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:55 PM

        Call me silly but isn’t it far more likely that Napoli with whatever hip issues are serious enough to hold up his signing a far bigger risk over a 3 year / $39MM contract then a healthy LaRoche over the same time frame.
        So Napoli who apparently has some health/injury concern issues moving from hitter friendly Rangers Ballpark to hitter friendly Fenway. And is coming off a bad year is a better risk over 3 years than LaRoche who had a very good 2012 in a hitter neutral Nationals Ballpark is not as good of an option if he moved to hitter friendly Fenway where Little Leaguer’s can hit doubles off the Green Monster for the same 3 year deal.
        You will have to forgive me but I have a problem with that logic.

      • natslady - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        uyf–hopefully will keep pursuing Napoli. LaRoche, who is known for slow starts, actually held the Nats’ offense on his shoulders in the spring, with Morse and Ryan Zimmerman injured and then Rizzo brought up another lefty from Syracuse, whom ALR mentored on the field, and accompanied off the field (because the rookie was too young to go to bars). LaRoche was out with surgery in 2011, so those bad stats I don’t hold against him.

      • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:20 PM

        I don’t know anything about Napoli’s hip. Obviously, Napoli is not as good a defensive 1B as LaRoche, but he can also play some C, he is 2 years younger, and he has been a better hitter (wOBA .371; wRC+ 128) throughout his career than LaRoche has been (wOBA .350; wRC+ 112).

      • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        paperloins, how much are those numbers that you quote for Napoli are artificially inflated by his 2011 performance? Which he is very unlikely to repeat.

        As for Napoli’s hip issue. I only know what I’ve read and according to everything that been written it’s his hip that’s been holding up the contract and apparently is enough of a concern that the Red Sox are NOT willing to just ignore it in the contract.

      • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:58 PM

        Those numbers are no more “artificially inflated” than LaRoche’s numbers are by his 2012 performance.

        Look, it isn’t complicated. When guys have career years at age 32, they generally are not a safe be to repeat those performances year after year. Napoli’s career average performance is better than LaRoche was last year. One player is younger and has been better than the other one, which is a perfectly reasonable reason to prefer that player to the other one. It isn’t like teams are knocking down LaRoche’s door offering him 3 years. So far, exactly zero teams have done that….including the one that benefited from his career year last year.

  4. pastabelly - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    LaRoche will play more games and be more productive than Napoli over the next three years. But the Sox are in love with their second round draft pick.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      You hit the nail on the head. A second round pick that will probably be around the 45th overall pick plus or minus in the draft.

      • natslady - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        This is why people buy lottery tickets. ALR is steady, reliable and he’s already, y’know, a Gold-Glove, Silver-Slugging major-leaguer. But–

        The best success story out of the 44th slot is Reds’ superstar Joey Votto (2002), with Chris Bosio and Jon Lieber serving as runner-ups. Since 1980, 15 of the No. 44 picks have made it to the major leagues.

    • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Maybe, but Napoli is 2 years younger, and over the last 3 years has played in more games and been far FAR more productive than LaRoche.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:54 PM

        It’s funny how numbers can tell you anything you want them to. For example in 2 of the last 3 years (2010 and 2012) LaRoche has played in more games than Napoli: 305 to 248.

        As for the total number of games over the last 3 years: LaRoche 348 / Napoli 361 and plate appearances over that same period: LaRoche 1439 / Napoli 1359

        Like I said it’s funny how numbers can tell you anything you want especially when you cherry pick time frames.

      • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        Of course, my response was to a prediction that one player would play more over the next THREE years than another….so I used the last three years as a basis for expectation over the next three. You are selectively ignoring a year because you don’t like the conclusion. I was using all of the data for the time frame. Funny how you are the one cherry picking.

        In addition, you can’t say anything you want….because there is no way you can look at the performances of these players and reasonably conclude that 1) LaRoche has been the better player or 2) that he is likely to be better over the next 3 years.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        paperlions, I wasn’t “selectiving” ignoring any year. The point of my previous comment was to show how numbers can tell you anything you want them to. Mission accomplished.
        BTW, to say the difference of a mere 13 games over 3 years proves or is enough to conclude a player will play more games in the next 3 years is ridiculous. Especially when there is obviously some concern about that players “hip”.

      • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        Right, which shows that the post to which I was responding has not history to support the expectation with respect to playing time.

        No matter which time frame you chose, Napoli has been the more productive player. He has far and away been the better offensive player while playing (mostly) the hardest defensive position whereas LaRoche plays the easiest.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:50 AM

        paperlions, there is virtually no time frame that I can use to compare the 2 players numbers. Since Napoli has been in the league 7 years in only 1 of those 7 years has he played in more then 115 games. That was in 2010 when he played in 140 games. And on only 4 of those years has he played in more then 100 games. Here is his breakdown: 3 years at less then 100 games, 3 years at 100 to 114 games and as I mentioned before 1 year 2010 at 140 games.

        The other problem with your latest comment. Is the Red Sox are signing Napoli to primarily play 1st base not catch. And with whatever his “hip” issue is it’s even more likely that what time he does see catching if and when he signs with the Sox will be even less then they originally anticipated. And of this there can be no doubt LaRoche is a better all around 1st baseman then Napoli.

        I will end my participation on this subject by only saying if it were my money and I were going to sign 1 of those 2 players to a 3 years / $39MM deal to play 1st base LaRoche would be my choice every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Obviously you feel differently.

  5. sportsguygerald - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Rangers didn’t tender because they didn’t want to pay him $13.3 if he accepted. There’s no guarantee he would have rejected the offer and being a Ranger fan, Napoli isn’t worth that kind of money. I loved his time in Texas, but, the strikeouts weren’t offset by the HR and RBI. He is not a good defensive catcher or firstbaseman. DH is where he will spend most of his time when he’s not on the DL, his body is breaking down fast. The ankle he injured in the 2010 World Series bothered him all year. True he hits like a machine in Fenway, but he won’t be hitting Red Sox pitching now. I hope he makes a full recovery, because he’s a gamer and a great guy in the clubhouse, but I don’t think he will ever have another season like the second half of 2010. When you look at his career numbers, they aren’t off the chart like they are in Fenway.

    • natslady - Dec 30, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      Similar to why the Nats didn’t tender EJax. Yes, in retrospect, it would be nice to know the Cubs were giving him a multi-year deal. But at the time, he might just have taken the $13.3. When you see the player for a year (EJax in this case, but probably Napoli also) you see the strengths but you also see the weaknesses.

    • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:25 PM

      Both of those guys were no-doubt going to turn down 1 year offers. Both wanted multi-year deals, and both had to turn down the offers before testing the FA market. There was no way either guy accepts the 1 year qualifying offer at their current age. By turning it down, the WORST they would do is a similar deal to the qualifying offer….obviously, the best they could do was quite a bit better than that.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 30, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        I seem to remember that a certain Yankee client of Boras turned down $13.3 million and is having trouble getting a contract.

      • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM

        Kind of irrelevant isn’t it?

        Because 1) Soriano isn’t Napoli or Jackson and 2) Napoli and Jackson have (or will have) each signed multi-year deals. Indeed, the fact that even a guy that has yet to get his multi-year deal turned down the qualifying offer is support for the idea that Napoli and Jackson should have been offered and would have turned them down.

  6. thegoods68 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Red Sox are brutal. Instead of admitting it is time for a rebuild, they are bringing in all these Band-Aid solutions

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