LaRoche set to hit the market as one of top first basemen
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo all but confirmed Adam LaRoche’s expected departure in telling MLB.com that he expects Ryan Zimmerman to make a seamless transition to first base next season.
It comes as little surprise, as LaRoche carried a $15 million mutual option. Those types of options rarely get picked up by both sides and nothing suggested this situation would be any different.
“Roche was a great teammate,” Rizzo said when asked what LaRoche has meant to the organization over the past four years. “Like a lot of our players, he was a great two-way player — offensively and defensively. He was great between the lines, in the clubhouse and in the community. He is a credit to the LaRoche name. He is a guy that served in Washington well.”
With LaRoche’s time in Washington reaching its end, it’s worth taking a look at some possible landing spots for the soon-to-be 35-year-old first baseman.
It could be argued that LaRoche will be the best first baseman available on the market. Michael Morse and Michael Cuddyer each come with injury concerns, while Billy Butler and Victor Martinez are clearly better suited for DH roles.
As for teams in the market for a first baseman, the Pirates, Marlins, Mariners and Blue Jays are all teams that come to mind. The Brewers may have been at the top of this list, if not for acquiring Adam Lind from the Jays last week.
For starters, the Pirates figure to try and find an upgrade from last year’s platoon situation between Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez. The Marlins, meanwhile, would certainly like to add another power bat to their lineup alongside slugger Giancarlo Stanton — and replacing Garret Jones with LaRoche could be a potential solution.
Seattle seems like more of a longshot, considering Logan Morrison’s improved play down the stretch last year and the fact that the Mariners already have a fair share of left-handed hitters in their lineup.
The Blue Jays need for a first baseman is obvious, given the aforementioned trade that sent Lind to the Brewers.
As for a potential contract, given LaRoche’s age, his production level and the free agent market, it seems likely that he will pursue either a two- or three-year deal.
— Paul Casella