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Adam LaRoche accepts two-year deal from Nationals

Jan 8, 2013, 12:20 PM EDT

Adam LaRoche Reuters Reuters

Adam LaRoche was holding out for three years and the Nationals were steadfast in sticking with a two-year offer. Today the free agent first baseman decided that was good enough, as Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that LaRoche has agreed to a two-year deal to return to Washington.

Having draft pick compensation attached to his free agency no doubt hurt LaRoche, who couldn’t secure a three-year deal and seemingly had trouble generating many two-year offers despite hitting .271 with 33 homers and an .853 OPS last season.

Now that LaRoche is back in the fold the Nationals are expected to shop Michael Morse, who had been slated to replace him at first base if needed. Instead with LaRoche at first base, Denard Span is center field, and Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in the outfield corners there’s no room for Morse to play following a season in which he hit .291 with 18 homers and a .791 OPS in 102 games.

Morse is three years younger than LaRoche and out-played him in 2010 and 2011, but he’s also just one year from free agency and should have some decent trade value.

UPDATE: Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports that LaRoche’s two-year deal is worth $24 million guaranteed, which includes a $2 million buyout of a third-year team option.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Meanwhile the Mike Napoli hostage negotiations have entered their 36th day, and yet another possible 1B solution for the Red Sox has gone off the market.

    BTW, I find it interesting that the Red Sox cleared 260 million in the Dodgers Dump Trade, and they have spent almost exactly half of that amount on FA’s if and when they ever seal the deal with Mike Napoli and his aching hips.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Thumbs up for “Napoli hostage negotiations.”

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Oops there goes Plan B for the Red Sox. Napoli’s hand just got a little stronger in his deals with the Red Sox to finalize that contract.

  3. runteddyrun - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    It’s been real, Beast.

    • natslady - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Beast a fun player, but no room for both, IMO. Some people have suggested keeping him (because of potential for injuries) but Morse himself has an injury history, and he will want to play full time in his “contract” year. Let’s see what Rizzo comes up with, hopefully a nearly ready starting pitcher (or two) because the farm system is a little thin right now… With the rotation set, it’s hard to get decent guys who are willing to sit in Syracuse as backup. Christian Garcia is impressive, but you don’t know if he can start. Zach Duke is already in the BP for long relief. The results for Ryan Perry are mixed and he doesn’t have an option left, if I recall.

      • blovy8 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        What Morse wants doesn’t matter, you can ask Lannan about that. As far as him being underutilized, Werth missed half of last season and LaRoche should have missed all of 2011. Injuries happen. Now Bernadina, Moore, Tracy, and Lombardozzi are reasonable depth, but Morse is a significantly better hitter. It remains to be seen if Rizzo can get similar value back, but I don’t see him just settling for another Willingham type of return. Keeping Morse isn’t really that much costlier than paying five million for Lannan’s handful of major league innings in 2012. He can DH in interleague games, play once every so often in the OF and at 1st, pinch hit a bit, and still give them more value than Lannan or Wang did for 9 million. But there may be a creative deal is out there that might include more than Morse so that the club might actually improve.

  4. kinggw - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Well done Rizzo, well done.

  5. Ben - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Did we ever ascertain for certain that the Nats couldn’t just turn around and trade LaRoche to a team who wanted to sign him, but didn’t due to draft concerns? I know there was some talk of the Indians doing something like that.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Since LaRoche was/is being signed as a FA the only way the Nationals can trade him before the Middle of June is with his permission. MLB and MLBPA CBA prohibits a team from trading a signed FA until about the middle of June.

      • Ben - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        Tnx. I remember some discussion of possible Boras-abuse of a possible loophole but I didn’t remember hearing conclusively one way or another whether it was a loophole.

  6. dakotah55 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Excellent news, but I’ll miss Michael Morse. Best of luck Michael.

    • dcfan4life - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      Yes this most certainly means Morse is going to be traded. But losing his bat gains us a true leadoff man in Span and we now keep another good bat and excellent defensman in Laroche. Not to mention whatever we get in return for Morse.

  7. bluesoxbaseball - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Aaron, Do the Nats lose their first round pick for signing him (and add a supplemental pick for having made a qualifying offer)?

    • uyf1950 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      No, A team doesn’t lose anything when they sign their own player

  8. bluesoxbaseball - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    uyf1950, I’m not saying your wrong (I don’t know) but is that exception for signing your own player in the CBA? I didn’t see it. Thanks for responding.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 8, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      You definitely don’t lose a pick for signing your own free agent. It’s not explicitly stated in the CBA, but let me put it to you this way: who gets the pick if it’s taken away for signing your own player?

      The first round compensation pick (and supplemental pick) only come into play if the team makes an offer of arbitration to their Type A free agent (a player adjudged by Elias to be in the top 20% of all players over the previous 2 seasons,) and then another team ends up signing that player as a free agent.

  9. mungman69 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    If the Nationals don’t win the NL East. Well, I can’t see them losing but it is a looong season.

  10. askingwater - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I just heard all of Atlanta and Philly scream, @*#$!!!

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Funny – I didn’t hear a peep. No disrespect to the guy, he is decent. But he is not “Oh God, we have to face him again?”, and he also necessitates axing another decent player off the roster. So…..

  11. lphboston - Jan 8, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Nice signing and it definitely will keep things nice and tight in the infield, especially if Zimm has more arm trouble. But I wouldn’t figure ALR for 33 and 100 again.

    Nats fans….what are your thoughts on this?

    1. Span L
    2. Desmond R
    3. Harper L
    4. Zimmerman R
    5. LaRoche L
    6. Werth R

    • blovy8 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Desmond is better as a #6, he’s too aggressive a hitter to be at the top of the order. I think they’d switch Desmond and Werth in that lineup and keep the Werth/Harper bloc that worked well down the stretch. It takes pressure off of Werth to hit for power again, when he was doing such a good job of being an OBP guy.

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