Nationals To Sign Adam LaRoche

The Nationals have officially announced their two-year agreement with Adam LaRoche. The deal includes a mutual option for 2013. LaRoche will be paid $7MM in 2011 and $8MM in 2012 before a $10MM mutual option/$1MM buyout comes into play. 

LaRoche had alternatives and so did the Nationals, but once the Orioles agreed to terms with Derrek Lee, Washington offered a two-year deal and the sides came to an agreement quickly. 

Like Adam Dunn, the Nationals' previous first baseman, LaRoche is consistent. The 31-year-old has hit at least 20 homers and posted an OPS of .775 or better for six consecutive seasons. LaRoche has hit exactly 25 homers in each of the past three seasons and has a career .271/.339/.488 line.

The D'Backs will obtain a supplementary first round pick since LaRoche, a Type B free agent, turned down arbitration. However, the Nationals do not have to surrender a draft choice to sign the first baseman.

LaRoche joins Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond on the Nationals' infield. The team has expressed interest in adding a veteran utility infielder before the season starts, but the starters are in place.

As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, the first base market has thinned out considerably now that Lee and LaRoche have agreed to deals.

GM Mike Rizzo and the Nationals front office negotiated the deal with LaRoche's representatives at SFX. Rizzo's predecessor, Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio first reported that the sides were nearing a deal (on Twitter) and Peter Gammons first reported the agreement (on Twitter). Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post and Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com added the salary details (Twitter links)


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58 Comments on "Nationals To Sign Adam LaRoche"


jmad4
4 years 7 months ago

I would have rather kept Dunn, but this works for me.

4 years 7 months ago

its just a placeholder until Chris Marrero can develop,anyway

Jamespfunk
4 years 7 months ago

I doubt Marrero ever plays for the Nationals. I do think LaRoche could be a stopgap for Derek Norris though if Ramos ends up being a good catcher. Or Tyler Moore if he continues to hit like he did at the end of last season.

NWDC
4 years 7 months ago

this is true, people keep talking about Marrero in a way that forgets he has been sliding down the top prospects list steadily for a few years

4 years 7 months ago

Dunn is obviously sexier with the homeruns, but I think LaRoche will help them win more games.

4 years 7 months ago

he cant be worse deffensively. how is his defense actually?

MaineSox
4 years 7 months ago

It’s strange actually, his defensive runs “above” average range from -18.2 to +7.0. Similarly his UZR/150 ranges from -19.7 to +7.6. Overall I would say it’s not great, probably slightly below average, but he’s certainly no Adam Dunn…

noah218
4 years 7 months ago

realy good

4 years 7 months ago

One step closer to 3rd place. 2012 is gonna be your year though.

4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, if 2012 is the year the nl east dies out with the Phillies, Braves, Marlins and Mets just magically disappearing. I could see 2012 being their year, believe it or not.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

When Strasburg is ready to really come back, which is realistically more 2013, not 2012, it will get real interesting.

He will probably be able to come back at some point late next year, but it takes a while for the finesse command to fully come back from TJ. The general rule is 1 yr to get back and return to the same velocity; and one more year to get the command back, esp. the breaking and offspeed pitches.

niched
4 years 7 months ago

And if he meets expectations, I’m guessing that’s about the time Bryce Harper might be ready to debut as well.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Agreed..but that’s an ideal scenario and aggressive promotion schedule. Unlike Strasburg, Harper is a prep pick. You never know with those guys. He might need some more time. Even very good excellent players will need it sometimes. If he took 5 years, he’d still arrive to the majors as if he were a fast-tracked college pick like Strasburg.

niched
4 years 7 months ago

By meeting expectations, I meant Harper meeting the expectation that he’s a once or twice in a generation player a la Alex Rodriguez or Ken Griffey, Jr. Then by that definition he’d be in the majors by next year or 2013. If he’s merely an excellent or very good player, then yeah, 3 to 6 years from now or even longer…

niched
4 years 7 months ago

By meeting expectations, I meant Harper meeting the expectation that he’s a once or twice in a generation player a la Alex Rodriguez or Ken Griffey, Jr. Then by that definition he’d be in the majors by next year or 2013. If he’s merely an excellent or very good player, then yeah, 3 to 6 years from now or even longer…

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Just my general impression, but does anyone else feel like LaRoche or his representation overplayed their hand here?

They had two rival clubs with pretty decent room in the budgets playing off each other, but they kept waiting for that 3rd year that never came. I think the Os offered a incentive vesting option that could trigger a 3rd year, but they held out for a garuanteed one.

By waiting it out, the net result was less than what he could have gotten a couple weeks ago.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

That said, it’s a good signing for the Nats. Good job. They’ve made some solid moves this offseason, adding quality players at key positions. DC fans will have some interesting things to cheer about.

I don’t think the NL EAST is as tough a division as the AL EAST, but it is maybe the most competitive division in baseball, which makes for a brand of baseball the way it was meant to be. It reminds me of the old school style of real pennant race, instead of the new style of playoff runs we have today.

niched
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, the collapse of the New York Mets notwithstanding, the NL East is becoming the most interesting division in baseball. In a couple years the AL Central should become exciting as the insane amount of talent the KC Royals have start to graduate to the majors.

niched
4 years 7 months ago

Well, LaRoche and his agent overplayed their hand last year when they didn’t accept a 2 year $17 million deal from the Giants and ended up having to take a 1 year $4.5 million deal from the D-Backs. So, barring learning from past mistakes, it wouldn’t be out of character for it to happen again.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Good point. He gambled that his value would go up after a short term contract, but his value basically stayed the same.

I think baseball insiders just have an impression that his profile fits the kind of player who nosedives very quickly as soon as he loses a little batspeed, which is inevitable. The contact and 100+ K rates just scream that to me.

niched
4 years 7 months ago

He’s lucky his value didn’t go down and that he didn’t have more competition for a starting 1B job. Hmm, didn’t realize his game relied more on bat speed than other hitters. But also teams must be a bit reluctant to give a longterm contract to a first baseman that cracked an .850 OPS only once (back in 2006) and plays barely average defense. Not sure why the Braves felt they wanted to trade LaRoche after such a productive 2006 season, but it wasn’t a terrible move since he hasn’t been quite as productive since. I don’t mean to bag on LaRoche, but he seems to have overplayed in his hand in negotiations two years in a row.

basemonkey
4 years 7 months ago

Good point. He gambled that his value would go up after a short term contract, but his value basically stayed the same.

I think baseball insiders just have an impression that his profile fits the kind of player who nosedives very quickly as soon as he loses a little batspeed, which is inevitable. The contact and 100+ K rates just scream that to me.

DIVISION
4 years 7 months ago

Revisionist history is unbecoming of you, baby niched.

LaRoche didn’t want to play in San Fran as I told you before. That park works against hitters and doesn’t compare to Arizona in terms of being hitter-friendly.

Sure, he didn’t boost his value by playing a year in Phoenix, but his numbers remained consistent with prior years.

If he’d played in San Fran, I doubt he hits 25HR this last year…..

Sometimes, it’s about chooser the lesser of the two evils, rather than bigger and better.

niched
4 years 7 months ago

Baby niched? Try calling me that to my face. Adam LaRoche never would have intentionally taken a $13 million pay cut just to pad his numbers. No jock is that stupid. Only you are.

The Mythical One
4 years 7 months ago

Actually according to LaRoche, that 2 year deal wasn’t exactly as it was advertised and a lot of the reported money was actually tied into the optional years, the base salary wasn’t close to that figure. He wound up making $6 million since he was paid $1.5 million on his buyout with Arizona.

My take on the whole Orioles situation is that they didn’t even want to give him two years and they might not have offered him the $7 million per year. This is why LaRoche took his sweet time in deciding to sign. I really want to hear something from LaRoche about what the process was about him eventually signing with the Nats and hopefully some smart reporter will bring up the situation with the Orioles and get an answer to that whole 3 year $21 million offer that was rumored to be offered.

So for two years at the very least LaRoche has gotten himself a raise of $2 million over what he made last year. If both sides agree to his option, he’ll get another $2 million raise. Not bad for a guy who is consistently average in just about everything he does.

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

They have a pretty good infield offensively, and defensivily, well except for desmond, but he has no were to go but up.

4 years 7 months ago

Fair signing, a consistent hitter and defender on a two year deal. He’s not going to mash like adam dunn, but he’ll play better defense and only costed a fraction of the annual price and more importantly years.

Hmm…pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if the nationals are potential suitors for o-cab or renteria since they are looking for a veteran utility infielder. Both should be fairly inexpensive and could step in if there was any sort of injury.

mstrchef13
4 years 7 months ago

Amazing how quickly LaRoche dropped his demand for three years when it became apparent that there was just one option left.

Either he severely overvalues himself, or he needs to fire his agent, because this is two years in a row he made ridiculously bad business decisions.

JohnnyHamer
4 years 7 months ago

Where is the guy saying he would get 10mil per ?

Brad426
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah… Division strangely quiet all of a sudden, huh?

JohnnyHamer
4 years 7 months ago

Pretty much.

JohnnyHamer
4 years 7 months ago

Where is the guy saying he would get 10mil per ?

brachialplexus
4 years 7 months ago

how did laroche end up screwed over? he still got 2 guaranteed years at a total of 16 mil. teams were never willing to give him 3 years so isnt what he just agreed to the same as what he would have gotten a few weeks ago?

CutTheString
4 years 7 months ago

The Cubs weren’t in on LaRoche since they’re getting Puljos next year. Otherwise this would have made more sense than the Pena deal.

4 years 7 months ago

since when are the cubs getting pujols? i dont think he gets away from the cards anyway much less to the cubbies..

Hoosierdaddy92
4 years 7 months ago

If the Cubs are getting any 1b next offseason, it’s Prince Fielder.

Redsoxn8tion
4 years 7 months ago

Beltre will be great in TX. Just don’t rub his head when he hits a HR

vtadave
4 years 7 months ago

Here is the Nats projected 2011 rotation:

Livan Hernandez
Jordan Zimmerman
John Lannan
Jason Marquis
Yunesky Maya

That’s brutal.

Still lots of work to do.

LUWahooNatFan
4 years 7 months ago

Livan Hernandez will make for a decent innings-eater, and maybe he’ll have another strong year like the start of 2010, unlikely however.

Jordan Zimmermann is coming off TJ surgery still and I don’t expect him to have full control back till the start of next year. Could make for a decent 3/4 down the road.

John Lannan’s overdue for a breakout season, or atleast average.

Jason Marquis’s a strong competitor coming off I think bone chips in his arm? While he did get shelled to end 2010, maybe he’s fully healthy and can put in a decent year

When Yunesky Maya pitched for the Nationals last year it was after about a year and a half of not pitching professionally at all so I expected a little bit of rust. The numbers he has put up in Winter ball is quite impressive.

If I had to make a Nationals rotation with the current roster it would be:

Zimmermann
Maya
Hernandez
Wang
Marquis

With Lannan, Detwiler, Mock waiting for someone to slip up…I’m sure I’m missing someone. Adding Pavano to the mix would make for a decent rotation.

rovert22044
4 years 7 months ago

Despite me thinking he doesn’t make a good starter, he’s better than what they have a 1B! (For now)

4 years 7 months ago

call me crazy but i like the nats team this year and next year really. i think laroche can provide some offense for them (not as much as dunn but i like him better on D). as long as the starters dont give up 8 runs a game i think the nats can hang with teams and possibly finish 4th in the division this year.

NatsTown
4 years 7 months ago

Dunn’s 2010 WAR= 3.6
Laroche’s career high in 2006= 2.7

Ferrariman
4 years 7 months ago

dunn…lots of money

laroche….cheap

you get what you pay for.

baybombers
4 years 7 months ago

Laroche with that open stance gonna be smashing big flys to right field. 28hr 105 rbi

baybombers
4 years 7 months ago

Laroche with that open stance gonna be smashing big flys to right field. 28hr 105 rbi

DIVISION
4 years 7 months ago

BTW: I was CORRECT about LaRoche’s three year deal!

I had to point it out to the doubting thomases of MLBTR…….

He settled for less money per year to get the security, which is what I also predicted…….

Jason_F
4 years 7 months ago

For the record, you were absolutely incorrect with every proclamation you made. You do realize that all of your previous comments are easily accessible, right? You were adamant about three years…and that didn’t happen. Go back and look at how many mutual options get picked up at the end of the guaranteed portion of the contract. I’ll save you the time, the answer is zero. You were also adamant that he would get $10 per year…he ended up with 2/$16M. Wrong, once again.

Also, as a response to your illogical comment higher up in the thread, it’s pretty cool that you have insight into what Adam LaRoche thinks about. You should use those powers for other, more useful activities. Regardless of ballpark, if the two offers were extended at the same time (2/$17M from SF and essentially 1/$6M from Arizona), do you honestly think LaRoche would’ve opted for Arizona’s offer? If so, you are delusional. Plain and simple, he overplayed his hand last offseason…similar to you having overplayed this inane platform you’ve been harping on regarding LaRoche’s contract.

Brad426
4 years 7 months ago

You were wrong as wrong can be. Stick to your guns, though, because it’s amusing. As an alternate strategy you could try “Wasn’t me.”

Here are some quotes from you:

“I told you kids he wouldn’t settle for less than 3/30…….

LaRoche holds the cards”

“If the Nats were the only team still bidding, LaRoche would have signed by now.If LaRoche is seeking a 3/30, why would he settle for a shorter deal for less than $10mill per?”

“These guys don’t compromise in both years and money……it’s one or the other.

The Nats aren’t the only team bidding on LaRoche, they’re just the only team that’s been mentioned.”
……

goredsgo
4 years 7 months ago

Outside of Cantu, Branyan, Glaus and maybe Aybar. There aren’t any proven starters left on the market

CommissionerBart
4 years 7 months ago

Stopgap placeholder…..and a bit overpaid….Rizzo is generous with mulit-billionaire Ted’s money….you’d think he’d spend it judiciously to get true stars not grossly overpay merely adequate players of limited “Werth.” :)

Until SS recovers from surgery and BH achieves the emotional and physical maturity to play at MLB levels, the Nats won’t contend. In the interim they should have kept fan-favorite Dunn who puts fannies in the seats.
Oh and where does LaRoche hit in the order?