Nationals sticking with two-year, $25 million offer to Adam LaRoche

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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.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?