A good Monday morning to all of you lovely readers - it was certainly a good Sunday afternoon for me, with the Packers beating the Bears to edge their way into the NFC playoffs. They play in Philly next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. I'm not thinking about going up there for the game - that much - but has anybody been to Lincoln Financial Field? I'm told going in there as a fan of a visiting team (and broadcasting that you're a fan of the visiting team) is the most miserable experience of your life, and I'm guessing any of your experiences at Citizens Bank Park would corroborate that. But I'm just curious.
Anyway, MLBTradeRumors.com had a roundup of other places Adam LaRoche could land if he doesn't sign with the Nationals, and while it's not likely another team will emerge with as lucrative an offer as the Nationals can make for the first baseman, the list does shed some light on why the Nationals might need to give LaRoche a larger multiyear deal than people would otherwise expect.
The Rays and Padres, among others, are the teams still looking for first basemen; the Rays need to replace Carlos Pena, who signed with the Cubs, and the Padres, who signed Brad Hawpe, could be looking for another bat to put him in more of a fourth outfielder role.
The Nationals' aim in all of this, of course, is to keep LaRoche away from teams like those, who might offer him a more immediate chance to win. And while the Jayson Werth signing opened plenty of eyes, their main play in the free agent market is still cash. If they dropped their price too much, it could bring other teams into competition for LaRoche in a cheaper market, where the Nationals wouldn't be as well-suited to win.
The question, then, is whether it's worth paying LaRoche enough to keep other teams off his radar. The Nationals could play Michael Morse at first, but they'd prefer to keep him in the outfield. They've stated their preference to bring in a first baseman, and LaRoche's agent, Mike Milchin, is undoubtedly using that as leverage. So while the Nationals certainly hold an advantage in the fact they're offering a multiyear deal, they might need to be careful with how strictly they play their hand.
We've discussed LaRoche plenty, but I'd love to hear how much you'd play hardball with him. And if you've got any Philly stories, let me know.