It was more of a matter of “when” than “if,” but according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network, the Nationals have signed Adam LaRoche to a two-year contract. He’s expected to take a physical on Thursday in order to finalize the deal.
Terms aren’t yet known, but Jen Royle of MASNSports.com reported last week that the two sides were discussing a two-year deal worth $8-9 million per season.
LaRoche batted .261/.320/.468 with 25 home runs, 100 RBI and a 788 OPS with the Diamondbacks last season. While the 31-year-old first baseman has quietly hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last seven seasons, that feat doesn’t look nearly as impressive when the man he is replacing at first base, Adam Dunn, has slugged at least 38 home runs per season during the very same timespan.
At the very least, LaRoche figures to be better than Dunn defensively and will be a lefty bat to balance Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman in the Nats’ lineup.
UPDATE: Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com hears that the contract is believed to be “in the neighborhood” of $16 million, so not far off from the range I mentioned above. I’m at a loss to understand why the Nationals felt compelled to give him a two-year contract. It’s not like there are many teams left that have a need for a first baseman.
UPDATE II: The contract actually includes a $10 million mutual option for 2013. Yes, a third year. Regardless, he is still guaranteed $16 million. LaRoche will make $15 million over the first two years while the option has a $1 million buyout.
Rian Watt of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that a trade that would send Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs involves prospect Gleyber Torres and more going to the Yankees. He adds that the holdup in the trade talks is centered around a contract extension for Chapman, believed to be around four years in length and $60 million total. The deal may not be finalized if the Cubs don’t get him signed to an extension they like. In Watt’s words, “Package is set. Extension is not.”
We learned earlier on Sunday that the Yankees were working hard to trade Chapman, reportedly in contact with at least four teams. The Cubs were not believed to be the front runners but certainly upped the ante by offering Torres.
Torres, 19, is rated the Cubs’ #1 prospect and #24 overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline. The shortstop has spent the season with Single-A Myrtle Beach, batting .275/.359/.433 with nine home runs, 47 RBI, 62 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 409 plate appearances.
Torres is currently roadblocked at shortstop by Addison Russell, and 21-year-old Ian Happ is rated #3 in the Cubs’ system, so the club would be dealing from surplus.
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mariners, the Blue Jays designated reliever Drew Storen for assignment and recalled reliever Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.
Storen, 28, had a nightmare of a time with the Jays, leaving with a 6.21 ERA and a 32/10 K/BB ratio over 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him in January from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Storen is owed the remainder of his $8.375 million salary, which makes it likelier that the right-hander will pass through waivers unclaimed. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the season.