Report: Nationals sign Adam LaRoche to two-year deal

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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.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.