The Baltimore Orioles grew tired of waiting on Adam LaRoche, and so they agreed to a deal on Friday with Derek Lee. The Washington Nationals, who lost Adam Dunn to free agency, were interested in signing Lee as well. So after losing out to the Orioles, the Nats naturally have turned their attention to LaRoche.
According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nationals have offered LaRoche a two-year contract. Ladson does not offer any numbers with the deal, but others have it at $8-9 million per season.
LaRoche reportedly wants three years, but Ladson reports that the Nationals are unwilling to go beyond two. Multiple reports had LaRoche already turning down a three-year offer from the Orioles, though Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said reports on that offer were not true.
LaRoche, 31, hit .261/.320/.468 with 25 home runs and a career- high 100 RBIs for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. There doesn’t seem to be much of a market for the seven-year veteran, so unless his agent can dig up some interest elsewhere, Washington seems like the logical landing place.
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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?