The Nationals have extended a qualifying offer to Adam LaRoche, an industry source has confirmed, guaranteeing the team a compensatory draft pick in 2013 if LaRoche chooses to sign elsewhere.
The Nats did not extend qualifying offers to any of their other free agents, including right-handed starter Edwin Jackson.
LaRoche now has seven days to accept a one-year, $13.3 million deal. He's expected to decline the offer in search of a multi-year deal.
The Nationals can still negotiate a new contract with LaRoche; the qualifying offer does not change that. It just ensures that if he signs with another team, the Nats will be compensated with a sandwich pick in between the first and second rounds.
Some had expected the Nats would also extend a qualifying offer to Jackson, but they apparently decided that $13.3 million was too large a price to potentially pay for one more season of his services.
The Nats could choose to work out a new contract with Jackson, but this might indicate that the team and the veteran right-hander will part ways.
Given that the Nationals already have their top four starters set for next season, they could look for a less expensive alternative to round out their rotation.