When Adam LaRoche was a free agent a year ago, the rumor throughout Major League Baseball was that his agent was looking for a multi-year deal worth in the $10 million annual range.
He eventually signed a one year deal with Arizona for about $4.5 million. Now that he's a free agent again, and coming off his third straight 25-home run season, he may get a lot closer to what he was looking for last winter.
Look here, LaRoche is a lot closer to Adrian Gonzalez offensively than you might think. A-Gon's OBP is 30 points higher for his career - which gives him an OPS that's also higher - but their similarity scores on baseball-reference.com are exactly the same. Gonzalez is also a couple of years younger.
The bottom-line issue with LaRoche may be the length of contract he's looking for. The Nationals, I suspect, and maybe the Orioles as well, would like to keep it to a two-year deal because of players coming up in the minor leagues. Maybe someone will get creative with a vesting option of some sort, but keep in mind, LaRoche has been a travelin' man in his big league career. Atlanta (twice), Pittsburgh and Arizona in the National League, and six games with the Red Sox. At 31, perhaps he'd like to stick around someplace for awhile.
We're also hearing that Derrek Lee is a possible Plan B, but that's another guy they'd rather not make a long-term commitment to. Lee's 35, and while he has similar full season average stats to LaRoche, is not quite as accomplished defensively. He's reportedly looking to sign with a contender, which might preclude Washington from consideration.
There doesn't seem to be a timetable for getting a first baseman, and no one's quite sure of the parameters being discussed by the agents for LaRoche and Lee. Interestingly, they're both the offspring of professional players: Adam's dad Dave was a lefty reliever for many years in the big leagues, and Derrek's dad Leon played in Japan for years.
The wait continues...