Reports out of Boston on Wednesday said that the Red Sox and Adam LaRoche were talking as the Sox wait for a rumored 3-year/$39M dollar deal with free agent Mike Napoli to get sorted out. Will the Washington Nationals lose another first baseman to the American League?
Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo speculated a few weeks back that the Boston Red Sox could pursue Adam LaRoche this winter and possibly offer the free agent first baseman the three-year deal he's after if their not-yet-officially-announced 3-year/$39M dollar deal with Mike Napoli fell apart. Mr. Cafardo put the Sox in the mix for LaRoche again this past weekend along with the Orioles and Nationals, though he wrote that Boston and Baltimore were relucant to part ways with the draft picks they would lose if they signed the 33-year-old Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winning infielder coming off a .271/.343/.510, 35 double, 33 HR, +3.8 fWAR campaign in the nation's capital in the second year of the 2-year/$16M dollar deal LaRoche signed with Washington in January of 2011.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote last week that it seemed the Sox weren't too concerned with a rumored issue with Napoli's hip, since Boston could have simply walked away from the deal had it been a big issue. A "revised deal," was more likely Mr. Rosenthal speculated, though he did note that the Sox could look at LaRoche if they didn't complete the deal with Napoli. The Red Sox would lose a 2nd Round pick if they signed LaRoche, however, and as Mr. Rosenthal noted, "Napoli did not receive a qualifying offer. Nor did any other free agent the Red Sox have signed. Clearly, the team wants to keep its picks."
As of Wednesday night the Red Sox and Napoli had yet to officially announce their deal. With whatever is holding the deal up apparently still delaying its completion, there was speculation out of Boston last night that the Sox may have renewed interest in Adam LaRoche:
Two sources tell me the Sox are going after Adam LaRoche, who's seeking a three-year deal. Third source says he won't budge on the years— Jen Royle (@Jen_Royle) December 26, 2012
Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports.com's bow-tied reporter, followed up on Ms. Royle's report in an article last night in which he reported that "major league sources" confirmed that, "While the Sox prefer to complete their deal with Napoli, they also are talking to free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche," with the sources saying that the, "... discussions... involve two- and three-year possibilities." LaRoche is believed to be after a three-year deal, with the Washington Nationals reportedly unwilling to go beyond two years to get the infielder to come back to D.C. for a third season with the 2012 NL East champs.
Mr. Rosenthal mentions the possibility that the rumored interest on the Sox' part could be an attempt to pressure Napoli into accepting a revised deal or an attempt on LaRoche's part to, "... create more leverage in his talks with the Nationals." The FOXSports.com reporter once again mentions the Red Sox' reluctance to part with even the 2nd Round pick they would have to give up since it would also mean the loss of, "... the money assigned to the pick in their draft pool. Thus, the pool would be smaller, and the team could not manipulate its distribution of signing bonuses as easily."
The Nationals, as LaRoche himself has explained, don't appear to be willing to give the first baseman the third year he's after with options at first in Michael Morse and Tyler Moore this year and players like Matt Skole on the way up in the organization. Recent reports out of Washington say that the team would like to resolve this situation at first sooner rather than later, but with the month of December nearly over the two sides who were said to have made some sort of progress this past week have yet to agree on a deal that will result in LaRoche being back at first and in the middle of the lineup in 2013. LaRoche waited until January 13th in 2010 before accepting an offer from the Arizona D-Backs. When he signed with Washington in 2011, he waited until January 7th before he took the Nats' offer. How long will LaRoche be willing to wait this winter?