The D’Backs declined their half of the $7.5MM mutual option for Adam LaRoche, according to the team. Instead, they’ll pay the first baseman a $1.5MM buyout. LaRoche, who turns 31 this weekend, hit 25 homers in 2010 and reached the 100 RBI plateau for the first time in his career. He batted .261/.320/.468, posting an OPS under .800 for the first time since 2005.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see D'Backs GM Kevin Towers bring in a new first baseman in 2011. The team would like to cut down on strikeouts and appears to have interest in free agent first baseman Paul Konerko. If the D'Backs offer LaRoche arbitration and he turns it down to sign elsewhere, they'll get a sandwich round pick in next year's draft for losing a Type B free agent.
I suggested in September that LaRoche could eventually sign a similar deal to the one-year $6MM contract he signed last winter.