It has been rumored that Washington Nationals will decline the $15 million option on Adam LaRoche’s contract. The Nationals will likely opt to buy out his contract for $2 million. The plan for Washington is to move Ryan Zimmerman over to first base due to the trouble he’s had at third base. Despite the fielding and injury troubles Zimmerman has had, he’s younger, just getting into his prime, and if he can shake the errors and injury bug, could be much better than he already is.
LaRoche still has a few good years of baseball left him, and he’s expressed that he’d like to stay with the Nationals. The reality of the situation though, is that extending a contract to someone who is 34, and will turn 35 next month, is always a risk. Since he does have a few good years of baseball left, it’s unlikely he’d take a pay cut to stay with the team, a buyout is probably the best and safest move for both sides. His average is consistently decent, he’ll still churn out 25+ home runs, and his plate vision has actually seemed to get better over the last two seasons. The main question is will it stay? For a few more years, probably, he could be a perfect DH and or first baseman for an American League team. The Milwaukee Brewers are a team that has been rumored to pursue LaRoche if he is let go.
Bottom line, LaRoche can still play, and if the Nationals do decide to buy out his contract, he’ll almost certainly get some offers elsewhere but at what price he’s looking for will determine which teams feel they can afford him.