I wrote yesterday that there were several indications that the Nationals were making a strong push to resolve the LaRoche situation this week. Well, today even more information surfaced regarding other suitors that could mean a reunion between the two parties. Here are some notes regarding the Nationals potential 2013 first baseman:
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Orioles have expressed interest in Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak. Smoak became expendable earlier this week when the Mariners sent pitcher Jason Vargas to Anaheim in exchange for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales. Acquiring Smoak would presumably mean the Orioles are out on LaRoche.
In other news, Jim Bowden of ESPN reports that the Texas Rangers were “never in” on LaRoche. Bowden says they weren’t interested in a long-term contract or the draft-pick compensation they would have to give up.
In a seperate report this morning, Bowden reports that Rangers Assistant GM Thad Levine said the Rangers have not discussed LaRoche to this point.
The Orioles have been tied to so many bats this offseason (Jason Kubel, Billy Butler, Smoak just to name a few) and the Rangers appear disinterested in LaRoche as an option, so it’s probably safe to say that both clubs can be taken off the list of his potential landing spots.
So, it appears that the only remaining suitors for LaRoche are the Nats, Seattle (not officially “out”), Boston (Napoli isn’t signed until his name is on the contract) and of course, the always-present mystery team. Of those four, the only ones that appear prominent are Washington and the last-minute mystery team, and any mystery team at this point would probably be a non-contender (Houston, Miami, etc.). Washington has the high ground in these negotiations, and hopefully they’ll utilize it to bring LaRoche home.