Adam LaRoche is going into his fourth season with the Nationals as the first baseman. In his first season in D.C. he was injured and only played in 43 games. That was very disappointing to have signed him that offseason and something of that magnitude happen. Since then he has played in at least 150 games the last two seasons. But the question remains is he the answer in the nation’s capital?
LaRoche will be 34 on Opening Day 2014, and has had three great seasons out of ten in his career. Well in baseball, that is a .300 average which is a great average. But in the world of seasons that isn’t so great. Two of those three seasons have come in the last four, so that is a good thing I guess. The one thing about that is the bad taste in the mouth of Nats’ fans about LaRoche. In two of the three seasons in a Nats’ uniform he has failed to hit .250 or have an on-base percentage over .340. His .332 OBP in 2013 ranked 7th of 8 first basemen that had enough at bats. His slugging and OPS also ranked dead last in the National League among first baseman.
That being said, LaRoche has one season left on his contract followed by a $15 Million Mutual Option in 2015. So the question still remains is he the answer at first for the Nats’? In my opinion he is not. The Nats’ and Mike Rizzo could go find someone a lot more productive and a lot cheaper first baseman on the trade market. LaRoche in my mind isn’t worth the money for the amount of production he is providing. I would rather the Nats’ use that money to give an extension to Ian Desmond.
One name that comes to mind is Brandon Belt. He is in his first year of Arbitration and could be a possible fit with the Nationals. The Nats’ would have to give up a couple prospects in the deal but it could be worth it. Belt doesn’t have the power numbers that LaRoche is capable of, but he does get on base a lot more. Belt had a good season in 2013 and could be a great possibility either at the deadline if LaRoche has another down year or next offseason. Belt will be 26 at the deadline compared to LaRoche who will be 34.
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