Washington Nationals' Adam LaRoche Wins NL Gold Glove At First Base

Greg Fiume

Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche was named the NL Gold Glove winner at first base Tuesday night, beating out the Reds' Joey Votto and the Braves' Freddie Freeman to win the award for the first time in his nine-year MLB career.

Adam LaRoche finished the second year of the 2-year/$16M dollar deal he signed with the Washington Nationals in January of 2011 with a .271/.343/.510 line, 35 doubles, a career-high 33 HRs and 100 RBIs, matching his previous career best in RBIs set in 2010 when he was with Arizona. It was his work with the glove at first base that LaRoche was recognized for on Tuesday night, however, when the 32-year-old infielder was given the NL Gold Glove at first base, beating out the Braves' Freddie Freeman and the Reds' Joey Votto to win the award for the first time in his nine-year MLB career.

The Nats' first baseman finished the year with the NL's second-highest fld% .995 amongst first baseman and seven errors total (all of them fielding errors) in 153 games played. The .995 fld% matched the career average for the former Atlanta Braves' draft pick and the 32-year-old infielder's +5.7 UZR/150 was the second-highest he posted in a full season, behind only the +7.6 UZR/150 LaRoche put up with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007. The +5.7 rating this season was up from his +0.2 UZR/150 in 2009 and +4.8 UZR/150 in 2010, the last two full seasons LaRoche played before a shoulder injury limited him to just 43 games played in 2011.

Joey Votto finished the year (969.0 innings) with a .994 fld%, six errors (3 fielding, 3 throwing) and a +7.5 UZR/150. Atlanta's Freddie Freeman ended the year with a -4.2 UZR/150, a .991 fld% and 12 errors (11 fielding, 1 throwing) in 1289.1 innings at first.

• Here's what the Washington Nationals had to say about LaRoche in a press release after he was named the NL Gold Glove winner at 1B:

"[Adam] LaRoche led all National League first baggers this season in fielding percentage (.995), games started (149) and innings (1323.1). At 6.1, LaRoche also paced NL first basemen (min. 1000 innings) in Ultimate Zone Rating, a figure that blends the number of runs above or below average a fielder is in three categories: range runs, double play runs, and error runs combined. He also led the NL with 159 plays made and 38 plays made out of zone (OOZ).

"LaRoche is the third Washington-based big leaguer to earn a Rawlings Gold Glove. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman earned the Nationals’ first Gold Glove in 2009, while Senators catcher Earl Battey earned the first of his three career Gold Gloves in 1960, his lone season in Washington. Rawlings established the Gold Glove in 1957 to reward defensive excellence."

• The Nationals and LaRoche are reportedly talking about a deal that would keep the first baseman in D.C. beyond this season. Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported late last week that he had spokem to LaRoche, who told the reporter he remained interested in returning to the nation's capital and hoped a deal could be worked out. The Nationals have until Saturday to negotiate a deal with LaRoche before he can talk to the rest of the teams in the league. The five-day window to talk exclusively with the first baseman started on Monday following the San Francisco Giants' four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series.

Ian Desmond, who was selected to participate in the All-Star Game for the first time this year was also nominated for his first Gold Glove award at short, but the NL's Gold Glove went to Philadelphia Phillies' shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

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