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.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.