Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell reported in an article this past week that the Washington Nationals were thus far unwilling to budge from their initial 2-year/$25M dollar offer to free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. The 33-year-old Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winning infielder is coming off a .271/.343/.510, 35 double, 33 HR, +3.8 fWAR 2012 season and looking for a three-year deal that thus far has not been offered to the nine-year veteran, at least not publicly. The WaPost's Mr. Boswell suggested that the Nationals should give LaRoche a third year and do so quickly, now that the Texas Rangers are in the market for a left-handed bat with Josh Hamilton signing on with the Angels in Los Angeles:
"... they might want to offer that third year like, maybe, tomorrow, and close the deal by dinner, because stunned depleted Texas now needs a free agent lefty power bat."
According to "multiple team officials" who spoke to Mr. Boswell's colleague, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, the Nationals are confident they can get a deal done that will bring LaRoche back to D.C. for a third season with the Nationals, but they also said the Nats have set an "informal deadline" to resolve the situation at first base by Christmas, which is now a little over a week away. After the Josh Hamilton deal with LA was announced, the Post's Mr. Kilgore's sources said that the Rangers hadn't "pushed hard" for LaRoche and might look elsewhere for what they need, though CSNWashington's Mark Zuckerman's sources said (as he wrote on Twitter) that, "LaRoche's name was immediately mentioned after Hamilton news and they might be willing to offer 3 yrs."
Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo suggests this morning that if the Boston Red Sox can't finalize their inexplicably delayed deal with free agent Mike Napoli, the Sox, "... could give LaRoche the three-year, $39 million contract," they are believed to have agreed upon with the 30-year-old C/1B/DH following two seasons with the Rangers in which Napoli had a combined .275/.379/.552 line with 25 doubles and 30 HRs in 2011 when he was worth +5.6 fWAR and nine doubles and 24 HRs last season when he was worth +2.0 fWAR.
Mr. Cafardo suggests LaRoche, "... could actually be a better option," for the Red Sox following the "contract snafu" with the one-time Angels and Rangers' catcher/first baseman, but if they don't move on from Napoli, the Boston Globe reporter speculates that LaRoche could return to D.C. or possibly go to the Baltimore Orioles, "... where Dan Duquette has coveted him."
After LaRoche talked with the Nationals' GM, Mike Rizzo, at a golf tournament and charity event last month that was organized by Nats' skipper Davey Johnson, he told reporters that he and his representatives were listening to other offers, but at that point hadn't received any offers. "'I’m not making calls,'" LaRoche told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, "'But we’re definitely listening to calls from other teams. I don’t know if it’ll take a firm, hard offer from another team to get the Nationals to move. Talking to Rizz, he’s a pretty straight shooter, they’re pretty adamant on not flexing past two years.'"
Can he find the 3-year/$39M Napoli did? Should the Nationals go to three years? Will the O's, Sox or Rangers (or maybe the Mariners?) step up and convince LaRoche to leave the nation's capital?