Coming off a career-best season, free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche is drawing interest from the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers, according to Jon Morosi. LaRoche is still being courted by the Washington Nationals as well, though he is expected to decline the one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer extended to him by the Nats last week.
The Red Sox have plenty of money to spend and plenty of holes to fill, including at first base where James Loney is expected to depart via free agency. LaRoche is an excellent defender and his left handed bat would play well in Boston, or really most anywhere for that matter, especially if he’s planning on hitting like he did last season. In 2012, LaRoche posted career-highs in games played, home runs and RBI. He’s reached 100 RBI twice in the past three seasons.
Texas has been connected to a few different hitters already this off-season as they prepare for the very real possibility of building a lineup without Josh Hamilton in the middle. They could afford to carry the duo of Mitch Moreland and Michael Young at first base when their lineup included Hamilton in the middle, but if he were to leave, Texas would benefit from an upgrade at the position.
In other words, get used to seeing Boston and Texas listed among interested parties for any significant bat. Both have plenty of money to spend and both will be aggressive in trying to stay competitive after disappointing finishes to the 2012 season.
Don’t expect that just because Boston and Texas are involved that LaRoche is a sure thing to leave DC, however. The Nationals have plenty of money to spend as well and they are said to be aggressive in their attempts to retain their slugging first baseman. A young and upcoming team like that would be a difficult one to walk away from, especially if the money is close. And I expect it will be.