Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The Washington Nationals and Adam LaRoche are still talking, but it doesn't appear the two sides are any closer to agreeing on a deal even though negotiations started this past summer and continue to this day. Can the free agent first baseman find the three-year deal he's after?
Reiterating what's been clear since the discussion between the Washington Nationals and free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche started, MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote this past Friday that his sources said the length of the deal is what's holding up a potential agreement between the Nats and their 2012 Gold Glove and Silver slugger-winning infielder. LaRoche wants a three-year deal and the Nationals are reportedly unwilling to go past two years (2-year/$25M acc. to the WaPost's Thomas Boswell). Though there were rumors of interest on Boston's behalf, as MLB.com's Mr. Ladson noted in the article, his colleague Peter Gammons (@PGammo) took to Twitter last week to proclaim that reports of the Red Sox' willingness to give LaRoche what he's looking for may have been exaggerated:
amidst the spins, Red Sox not interested in three years and surrendering all the ramifications of draft pick on and for LaRoche— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 28, 2012
Boston would only have to part with a 2nd Round pick since their 1st Round pick (no.7 overall) is protected under the rules of the CBA agreed upon last winter, but just about every report on the Red Sox' rumored flirtation with the 33-year-old first baseman has included a caveat about the team's reluctance to part with a draft pick in order to sign the free agent. The Nationals' decision to make a 1-year/$13.3M dollar qualifying offer, which LaRoche turned down after declining a $10M dollar option for 2013, is clearly affecting the market, though the left-handed hitting slugger himself told the Washington Posts's Adam Kilgore this weekend that he was, "... in talks with multiple opposing clubs," in addition to the Nationals.
LaRoche would apparently still prefer to return to the nation's capital as he tells the WaPost's Mr. Kilgore that the negotiations with other teams are in case, "'... Washington doesn’t work out.'" The nine-year MLB veteran does, however, add that though he's hopeful something can be worked out, "'... as you know it takes two sides cooperating to make that happen. I’m doing everything I can.'" Everything short of negotiating himself, that is, since he notes elsewhere in the article that he's so far, "... avoided injecting himself directly in negotiations."
Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo gave the Nationals the nod as the most impressive roster in the majors heading into 2013 whether they have LaRoche at first or Michael Morse over there as Morse was in 2011 when the LaRoche tore the labrum in his left shoulder and missed most of the first year of his 2-year/$16M dollar deal with Washington. LaRoche's name comes up again later in Mr. Cafardo's Sunday Baseball Notes column in a discussion about the Red Sox' still-unofficial agreement with C/1B Mike Napoli. While Boston works to settle the situation with Napolo, the Boston Globe reporter writes that, "... they’re keeping Adam LaRoche in their sights," though, of course, "... they really don’t want to give up a draft pick to sign him."
Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell wrote in a chat with readers last week that he would be shocked if, "... LaRoche falls to [the] Nats at 2-yr deal... Pleasantly, but shocked," but if there's a 3-year deal out there for the veteran first baseman it's not public knowledge at this point. Another week and no resolution, and it appears that in spite of reports last week that there may have been progress, not much has changed since the Nationals and LaRoche started talking this past summer...