Sep 26, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals first basemanAdam LaRoche
(25) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first inning on a wild pitch against the Miami Marlins in game one of a baseball doubleheader at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
When it became apparent during the 2014 season that Ryan Zimmerman‘s arthritic right shoulder would no longer allow him to play third base, the Washington Nationals likely accepted the reality that first baseman Adam LaRoche would be playing for another team next season.
After the Nationals declined his 2015 option earlier this offseason, it became clear that LaRoche’s days with the Nationals were, in fact, over. But according to a report from ESPN’s Jayson Stark, it looks like the bearded first baseman may not be going too far after all.
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According to the report, the Miami Marlins have shown “aggressive interest” in the 35-year-old first baseman. The Marlins are looking for a strong middle-of-the-order bat to provide some protection for their recently-extended $325 million man, Giancarlo Stanton, and LaRoche would appear to be a perfect fit.
Over the last three years, LaRoche has been a fundamental part of the Nationals’ offense. From 2012 to 2014, LaRoche belted 79 home runs and drove in 254 runs.
Not only was LaRoche a powerful presence in the lineup, but he also played elite defense at first base throughout his time in Washington. From making incredible scoops at first to diving for balls that would’ve been sure doubles, LaRoche played Gold Clove-caliber defense every time he was on the field. It’s not easy being a first baseman for an infield that has Zimmerman and Ian Desmond on the left side. For LaRoche, it looked more than easy.
LaRoche’s best season with the Nationals came in 2012, when he hit .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBIs. LaRoche was not only a key part of the team’s 2012 NL East championship, but he also finished sixth in MVP voting and won the NL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at first base.
The first baseman had another great year at the plate in 2014, batting .259 with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs.
Needless to say, LaRoche was a great player during his time with the Nationals and played a major role in helping the team rise to the top of the division. But as tough as it is to watch him go, it would be even tougher to watch him wear the uniform of an NL East foe in 2015.
On the bright side, if LaRoche were to sign with the Marlins, we’d get to see him play many times at Nationals Park over the next few years.