Adam LaRoche undergoes season-ending shoulder surgery

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As expected, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche underwent season-ending surgery Thursday on his left shoulder. This according to CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Wiemi Douoguih at Washington Center Hospital and was designed to repair a tear of the large labrum in LaRoche’s throwing shoulder. It was deemed a “success.”

LaRoche is not expected to do anything baseball-related until the fall and won’t be healthy again until the start of spring training next February.

The 31-year-old signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Nats this past offseason and will wind up having batted just .177/.288/.258 with three home runs in the first year of that deal. Those numbers are tough to swallow at the moment, but there are indications that the Nationals are going to be willing to spend heavily over the next several seasons. In fact, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal suggested earlier this week that Washington might even make a run at Prince Fielder this offseason in free agency. Maybe the Nats can simply brush off the LaRoche deal with a new commitment to spending big.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.