After talking with D.C GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson about the Washington Nationals' negotiations with 33-year-old free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell wrote in an article this past Sunday that, "The Nats’ dream is that LaRoche actually re-signs — but for the two-year deal that is almost certainly as far as they’ll go." The WaPost writer went into more detail about what he heard from the Nats' soon-to-turn-70-year-old skipper in a chat with readers the morning after he published the article, explaining that though Johnson he wants LaRoche back and thinks he'll ultimately sign, it's a business decision:
"'You can hurt your organization with a deal that costs a whole lot of money and hurts the development process. I think we're going to get him signed. But it's one of those tough decisions...Mike sticks to his guns. And he always has (other) plans and options in mind...We need to draw a line and know when we're done with Adam (one way or the other.)'"
The Nationals can move 30-year-old slugger Michael Morse to first and they have Tyler Moore, who came up as a first baseman and made his case for being major league ready with back-to-back 31 HR seasons in the organization at Class-A Potomac (2010) and Double-A Harrisburg (2011) before making his MLB debut in 2012 and once again impressing in a part-time/bench role. 23-year-old 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Matt Skole profiles as a power-hitting left-handed first baseman according to the Nationals' general manager. The Nats might have to make room in the infield in the near-future too, with the likes of Anthony Rendon and his advanced bat likely to start his second pro season at Double-A Harrisburg. And of course everyone loves hypothetically moving Ryan Zimmerman away from third in the future.
Put simply, the Nationals have options if they don't re-sign LaRoche, who declined his end of the mutual option for the 2013 season included in his last deal and turned down the Nats' qualifying offer with the goal of finding a multi-year contract on the free agent market. According to reports this afternoon, though the two sides have talked, there's been little progress in the negotiations:
Nothing hot between #Nationals and Adam LaRoche at the moment, source says, which suggests they are outfield-focused.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 29, 2012
with negotiations not making much progress with Adam LaRoche the Nationals are seriously considering changing course & chasing Michael Bourn— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) November 29, 2012
In an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier this morning, Rizzo talked openly about still being interested in adding a left-handed hitting, leadoff man/center fielder. No mention of LaRoche in the 10 minute interview, though the general manager wasn't asked about the first baseman to be fair. Ryan Zimmerman talked about LaRoche with Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore on Wednesday in an article about the Nats' third baseman's recovery from shoulder surgery, telling the WaPost reporter, "'I think all of us would love to have him back,'" before adding as Johnson did, that, "This is the part where it gets down to business decisions.'"
More info when there is some...