I forgot to mention this the other day, but early odds for who will win the 2013 World Series have been released.
Not surprisingly, the Nationals find themselves toward the top of the list of favorites.
Bovada has given the Nats 12-to-1 odds to win the World Series next season, putting them behind just the Tigers (6-to-1), Yankees (7-to-1) and Giants (10-to-1). The Rangers and Angels also are listed at 12-to-1.
Within the National League East, the Phillies and Braves were given 14-to-1 odds, while the Marlins and Mets are both listed at 40-to-1.
We're all well aware by now that LaRoche will opt out of his mutual option for 2013, making him a free agent. He wants to return to D.C., and the Nats want to have him back. But while the two sides have until Saturday to negotiate exclusively, things will be made more complicated if a deal isn't reached prior to then, which would allow LaRoche to hit the open market.
Should LaRoche become a free agent and be able to talk to other teams, what's the market looking like for him?
Well, there aren't seemingly a ton of teams who have a major need to acquire an everyday first baseman this offseason (the Red Sox and Orioles could be two), but don't be surprised if other teams get in on the bidding. I'm sure a few squads would look at a left-handed first baseman with pop, a Gold Glove and a terrific reputation around the game and say to themselves, "We can make room for this guy."
Outside of LaRoche, there also aren't many other options when it comes to potential free agent first basemen. Here's the list compiled by Baseball Prospectus, with the asterisks denoting which players have options for 2013:
Lance Berkman, STL
Jason Giambi, COL
Travis Hafner, CLE *
Eric Hinske, ATL
Aubrey Huff, SF *
Casey Kotchman, CLE
Adam LaRoche, WAS *
Carlos Lee, MIA
James Loney, BOS
Xavier Nady, SF
Mike Napoli, TEX
David Ortiz, BOS
Lyle Overbay, ATL
Carlos Pena, TB
Jim Thome, BAL
Ty Wigginton, PHI *
Slim pickings, especially when you consider that Napoli really is more of a catcher and Ortiz is a DH who appears a lock to stay in Boston.
The Nats would probably prefer to give LaRoche another two-year deal, possibly with an option tacked on for 2015. They could offer around $24 million for those two guaranteed years, and see if LaRoche is willing to make that happen.
More than likely, however, LaRoche would want a third guaranteed year. He's got leverage because of his strong 2012 season and the lack of other options on the market, and could probably swing three years from someone.
If the Nats offer three guaranteed years at around $32-34 million, that might very well be enough.
But there's also the possibility that LaRoche, who will turn 33 in a week, sees a team back up a Brinks truck and wow him with an offer. A number of teams will have plenty of money to spend, LaRoche is the cream of the first base crop and he's highly regarded.
Now it's just a waiting game to see how the negotiations play out.