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.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.