Nothing much has changed in negotiations between Adam LaRoche and the Nationals. While LaRoche wants a three-year deal, the Nationals aren’t willing to budge beyond two guaranteed years. With no resolution in sight, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post checked in with LaRoche yesterday for an update.
“We’re talking to a few other teams,” LaRoche said Friday evening in a voicemail. “Got to keep things open in case Washington doesn’t work out. I’m still hopeful that it will, but as you know it takes two sides cooperating to make that happen. I’m doing everything I can.”
One of the other teams reportedly involved is the Red Sox, though some have speculated that they have kept in touch in order to pressure Mike Napoli into signing a modified contract due to his hip issue. Signing LaRoche would cost the Red Sox their second round pick in 2013 and it’s unclear whether they would be willing to do that. Napoli wasn’t given a qualifying offer by the Rangers, so he isn’t tied to draft pick compensation.
If the Nationals end up re-signing LaRoche, they are expected to listen to trade offers for Michael Morse. If LaRoche signs elsewhere, they would simply use Morse at first base.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.