Adam LaRoche didn't have any plans for the immediate future and said as much as soon as the Washington Nationals' 2014 campaign ended in San Francisco last month.
"I have no idea what direction we go from here," the then-34-year-old first baseman told reporters.
"But I know I'll go sit in a tree stand and think about it."
In an article later in October, LaRoche told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore that he understood that his future in the nation's capital depended on the direction the Nationals took with Ryan Zimmerman:
"'[W]e just have to see what they’re going to do with Zim. I think that’s probably what it will come down to. He’s our best hitter. He needs to be in the lineup. If he needs to move over to first to make that possible, then that kind of weeds me out, and I move on. Which is fine. It’s not the first time I moved to a different team.'"
LaRoche, who turned 35 on November 4th, was worth +1.6 fWAR in 2014, putting up a .259/.362/.455 line with 19 doubles and 26 HRs in 140 games and 586 PAs in his fourth season with the Nationals.
The Nats declined to pick up the a $15M option that was tacked on to the end of the 2-year/$24M deal LaRoche signed with the Nats in January 2013.
When Mike Rizzo talked to MLB.com's Bill Ladson earlier this month, the Nationals' GM talked openly about moving on from LaRoche, telling the Nats beat writer the veteran first baseman was a great teammate, defender, member of the community, and, "... a guy that served in Washington well."
As for Zimmerman's transition to first, Rizzo predicted a smooth transition for the now-former third baseman:
"I think he will make the transformation to first base beautifully. I think he will be a tremendous defensive first baseman. Obviously, offensively, he is one of the top run producers in the game."
"I'm excited to see him over at first base and see how he produces," Rizzo added.
Veteran Washington Post columinst Thomas Boswell, in a chat with readers this week, wrote that fans who might be worried about Zimmerman's durability and the transition to a new position should, "[e]xpect a happy story to come out of this one."
"I've seen the switch to first do wonders many times," Boswell wrote. "If it doesn't in Ryan's case, then it will be the exception."
As for LaRoche's future?
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported in an article today that his sources said the Miami Marlins have, "...shown aggressive interest in free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, among others."
Will he end up with the Nationals' divisional rivals, hitting behind the $325M man, Giancarlo Stanton?
Will the Nationals pursue a backup option at first base, or is it Kevin Frandsen, Steven Souza, Jr. and Tyler Moore on the depth chart (in no particular order) with Matt Skole continuing to develop in case of an emergency?