Free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche made it clear this winter that he wanted stay in Washington and he hopes that he'll be a part of the Nationals for years to come. That desire manifested itself in a request for a three-year deal while the Nats insisted on a two-year pact instead. Beyond that, the veteran told reporters on a conference call this afternoon that he requested a no-trade clause in his contract, but was rebuffed as the front office cited club policy.
"Towards the end, it wasn't necessarily about the third year. It turned out to be more about the small things, whether it was trying to work out out the buyout or whether we could do a no-trade clause or something like that. To be honest, the no-trade clause was a hang up for a little while. You guys all know the direction that the team is going in is phenomenal. They could be really solid for a long time so I don't want to get traded. Apparently there's a no no-trade policy where they did it for [Jayson Werth] and they're going to shut it down and not give any more no-trade clauses. That's something that I had to work through," said the first baseman.
The Nationals were firm in their stance that they would not go to three years throughout the offseason and the SFX client said that he realized sometime last week that he would have to reach a compromise on contract length. LaRoche declined to get specifically identify the other teams that were interested in him and the kinds of offers that he was receiving, but he feels that he would have had more interest from clubs if he didn't have draft pick compensation tied to him through the qualifying offer system.
"I think that it did [affect me]. That's coming from people a lot smarter than I am that explained it to me. I think it affected a couple of other players worse than me, there are a lot of solid ballplayers out there still looking for a job," LaRoche said. "It definitely hindered some teams from going after some guys...I think there were two or three, maybe four teams out there that it did affect as far as teams that were interested me but didn't want to give up that pick."
Regardless of external factors that may have hurt his market, LaRoche says that he's glad to be back in D.C on a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2015. However, his return means that Mike Morse won't be starting at first and he doesn't figure to have another place to start with the three outfield positions also filled. LaRoche knows that Morse could potentially be moved for impact pieces, giving him a chance to thrive elsewhere, but he "selfishly" hopes that Morse remains in Washington.