Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
An update on the ongoing negotiations between the Washington Nationals and Adam LaRoche tonight says that the two sides might be closer to a deal to bring the first baseman back to the nation's capital. What does that mean for Michael Morse?
Friday - The weekend started with an update of the ongoing Adam LaRoche situation. Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore quoted an, "official familiar with the team’s thinking," who told him that Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo, "... could press the issue soon," with the general manager offering, "not quite an ultimatum but something close to it."
After LaRoche declined the mutual option included in the 2-year/$16M dollar deal he signed in January of 2011 and turned down the 1-year/$13.3M dollar qualifying offer the Nationals made, the Nats are believed to be drawing the line at a two-year deal (worth a reported $25M), while the 33-year-old free agent first baseman is reportedly holding out for a third year in the hope that the Nationals or some other team out there in need a left-handed slugger might finally give the nine-year veteran the deal he wants after he set a career-high in HRs with 33 blasts last season while matching a career-high in RBIs (100) and finishing the year with a .271/.343/.510 line at +3.8 fWAR.
LaRoche won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award in recognition of his work with the NL East champs last season. He has so far been unable to find a three-year deal this winter, apparently, though he jokingly told the WaPost's Mr. Kilgore recently that he was willing to wait until April 1st (aka Opening Day) before making a decision on his home for the next few seasons.
Saturday - Though there was no word of the Nationals offering anything resembling an ultimatum, according to an update on Saturday night by MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the first baseman might be a "little bit" closer to returning to Washington. The two sides have reportedly been discussing a deal since late this past season, and now they may reportedly have made "a little bit of progress" toward an agreement that will bring LaRoche back to the nation's capital in 2013. Mr. Ladson's source noted that, "... the Nationals have not put a deadline on LaRoche as far as taking the deal off the table." Several recent reports said the Nats had an informal Christmas deadline to get a deal done.
The Nationals believe they have options should LaRoche walk, with Michael Morse under contract for 2013 and Tyler Moore capable of backing up at first. They also have 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Matt Skole in the system as a potential option in the future. Should they sign LaRoche, however, the Nationals are rumored to be willing to consider dealing Morse. When Nats' skipper Davey Johnson was asked earlier this winter about the possibility of keeping both LaRoche and Morse on the roster next season, the 69-year-old manager said he didn't think that would work, telling reporters including MASNSports.com's Dan Kolko it would be a tough situation:
Davey said LaRoche/Morse decision is up to GM Mike Rizzo, but would be tough for #Nats to keep both. "It's hard to start sharing roles."— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) December 4, 2012
Sunday - ? Is a resolution to the situation coming? Will LaRoche make a decision? Will the Nats offer a third year? An option like the one included with his last deal? Will Davey Johnson get what he said he wanted for Christmas?