After months of going back and forth and waiting, it is reported that Adam LaRoche has decided against waiting for the three-year deal he was looking for and has accepted the two-year deal that the Washington Nationals made him. The contract was first announced by the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore and is pending a physical.
No contract terms in terms of money have been released, but we you have to expect it will be a raise from the $8 million option he declined earlier in the off-season. I would guess that the terms will be around $20-24 million for the two years. LaRoche and the Nationals had been linked throughout the off-season as both sides wanted to get a deal done. There were other teams involved as well, but LaRoche was always looking for that third year and the Nationals were holding firm with their two-year offer for reasons I speculated on earlier; one of them being the development of Anthony Rendon and the future of Ryan Zimmerman at third base and not wanting to invest too much into a player coming off of a career season.
This will most likely mean the Nationals will be looking to trade Mike Morse, likely for some help in the bullpen. Morse has been linked to the Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers all of whom have arms to trade.
The decision between Morse and LaRoche always came down to the term, and at two years LaRoche is a good bet because even if there is a move next year, an expiring contract is a lot easier to trade. Having two years left for a player with no room to play is not a situation you’d ideally want to be in which is why that third year was such a sticking point for the Nationals brass.
The difference between LaRoche and Morse is negligible enough offensively that defensively LaRoche’s advantage definitely helps out the Nationals as well as having the option of trading Morse. Morse bringing in a reliever can ultimately swing the advantage in LaRoche’s favor.