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After all the wheeling and dealing that has come about in the last 36 hours of the Hot Stove, would any deal surprise you? Heck, Robinson Cano might end up a Seattle Mariner. That would be crazy. Tuesday I wrote a piece on the Nationals possibly signing, or being involved with, Cano. For that to happen, the majority consensus would be to move Adam LaRoche. For this to happen, a few things would have to fall in the Nationals’ favor.
LaRoche, 34, is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. He hit a lowly .237 with a .735 OPS, while hitting only 20 home runs and driving in 62. LaRoche is in a contract year in 2014 and is set to make $12 million this season. There is a mutual option for 2015 at $15 million, but unless LaRoche has a monster year, I don’t see the Nationals picking that up and would rather pay the $2 million buyout. If the Nationals could somehow sign Cano, this opens up a world of possibilities.
The Nationals could look to trade the former gold glove winner to a team with a hole at first base. Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay come to mind right away. Colorado would be in the mix, but they inked Justin Morneau to a two year deal Tuesday. The part that could be a snag is that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay will not likely take on all of LaRoche’s $12 million salary. If the Nationals are willing to eat even $5 million, this could be a deal.
LaRoche is 34 and coming down to the end of his career. He is projected, by FanGraphs, to have a bounce back year. His average , OBP, SLG, OPS, and RBI total is predicted to increase. Plus, he is one of the best defensive first basemen in all of baseball. He had a rough year in 2013 in the field, but in 2012 he did win the gold glove. LaRoche could be a perfect fit for a team, but if the Nationals happen to sign Cano, I think LaRoche could be on his way out of Washington.