There haven’t been a ton of Adam LaRoche rumors swirling and most reports have the Nationals confident in re-signing the 33-year-old first baseman, perhaps leading to Michael Morse being traded.
As for what type of contract LaRoche may end up with, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes that the Nationals haven’t changed their original offer of two years and $25 million.
LaRoche may be holding out for something closer to Mike Napoli’s three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, especially since he out-produced Napoli in just about every major category this year. Of course, Napoli is a couple years younger, his previous track record is more impressive, and his ability to play catcher adds significant value in addition to his bat.
Teams that missed out on Josh Hamilton would seem like natural fits to intensify their pursuit of LaRoche, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Nationals eventually have to up that two-year offer. LaRoche became a free agent out by declining his half of a $10 million mutual option and then turning down the $13.3 million qualifying offer.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.