Adam LaRoche “has interest in playing for the Nationals”

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Washington is committed to overpaying veteran free agents this offseason and not surprisingly Adam LaRoche wants in on the action.

Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that LaRoche “has interest in playing for the Nationals and his representative is expected to meet with the club in the next couple of days.”

Ladson adds that the Nationals “have had their eyes on” LaRoche “for several months.”

Based on various reports and speculation, it sounds like the Nationals will look to trade Josh Willingham and then sign a veteran first baseman like LaRoche or perhaps Carlos Pena, to whom they’ve also been linked “for several months.”

Ladson writes that LaRoche “is coming off the best season of his career,” but in reality that’s far from the case. It’s true that he drove in a career-high 100 runs, but LaRoche had his lowest batting average (.261), on-base percentage (.320), and OPS (.788) since 2005 and the Diamondbacks declined his $7.5 million option for 2011.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.