It was a stand-off four months in the making, but free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche finally blinked.
LaRoche, 33, turned in a career-year in 2012 for the NL East champs, slugging 33 home runs and winding up matching a career-high with and even 100 runs batted in. He had drawn at least mild interest from a handful of clubs, but was never seriously linked to a club other than the Nationals. LaRoche’s free agency was hampered by being tied to draft pick compensation, resulting in a market where clubs were reluctant to part with a top draft choice, and the accompanying slot value, in order to land an elite defensive fiorst baseman who also produces runs in the heart of the order.
With LaRoche returning to the Nationals, Mike Morse suddenly becomes expendable. The Nationals added Denard Span to play center field via trade earlier in the off-season, which will shift Bryce Harper to left field. Morse was penciled in as the first baseman while LaRoche was on the open market. With LaRoche returning, Morse becomes a hitter with no place to play.
Just a year removed from a 30+ home run campaign, look for Morse to draw heavy interest on the trade market. Expect Seattle, Morse’s old club, to be involved.