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.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.