Boston has had an agreement in place with fellow free agent Mike Napoli since early this month, but the deal has yet to be made official due to a hip condition discovered during Napoli’s physical. LaRoche would be an alternative to completing the deal with Napoli, which the Red Sox could simply walk away from at any point.
LaRoche is dead set on landing a three-year contract coming off the best season of his nine-year MLB career. LaRoche set personal bests with 33 home runs, 100 RBI, and 291 total bases in 2012 while winning a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award and finishing sixth in the National League MVP balloting.
The Washington Nationals have maintained a desire to bring LaRoche back on a new contract and they did extend to him a one-year qualifying offer, which LaRoche declined. Should he sign elsewhere, the Nationals would be entitled to draft pick compensation. Because of Boston’s poor record last season, their first-round pick is protected, meaning they would only have to surrender their second-round choice if they were to sign LaRoche.
That LaRoche remains unsigned despite the mutual interest between he and the Nationals is an indicator that contract length is non-negotiable for the first baseman. Washington has reportedly been unwilling to go beyond two years for LaRoche and are prepared to go with Mike Morse at first base should LaRoche walk. Morse would be traded if LaRoche re-signed in the nation’s capital.