The Diamondbacks and first baseman Adam LaRoche are in "very preliminary" discussions about an extension that would keep LaRoche in the desert past his current deal's expiry date after the 2011 season, reports Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com.
LaRoche signed a one-year, $4.5MM contract with the Snakes in January that carries a mutual option worth $7.5MM for 2011. The buyout of that mutual option is worth $1.5MM, thus costing Arizona $6MM overall for a first baseman who has posted a solid .840 OPS in 464 plate appearances while battling some lingering quad and knee injuries.
The extension talk is a bit surprising given that LaRoche's name has popped up in trade rumors virtually all season long thanks to Arizona's quick plunge to the bottom of the NL West. LaRoche, who will turn 31 on November 6, cleared trade waivers yesterday and could be moved to any team, though a trade would increase the value of his mutual option to $9.5MM. Magruder notes, however, that since the D'Backs have already moved Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson and Chris Snyder, those deals freed up enough payroll for the club to try and keep LaRoche in the fold.