After discovering that there weren’t any teams in MLB willing to offer him a three-year deal, Adam LaRoche ended up signing a two-year, $24M deal (with a mutual third year option) to remain with the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, teams were loath to give up a draft pick to sign him and the Nationals had Michael Morse as insurance if he decided to leave. LaRoche had a very good 2012 season, batting .271 with 33 HRs, 100 RBI and 76 R. However, you have to go all the way back to 2006 before you find a comparable season on his stat sheet. He is more of a 25 HR, 80 RBI guy, benchmarks he’s reached nearly every season of his career. LaRoche is also 33 years old. So while he’s been pretty consistent over his career there is a very good chance that his decline phase will begin sometime in the next two years. Now that LaRoche is signed, Morse becomes trade bait for the Nats, who are in need of a left-handed reliever in the bullpen. As many as 10 teams are reportedly interested in Morse, but keep an eye on the Red Sox. With the Mike Napoli injury clause talks moving slowly (if at all), the Red Sox may decide to bring in a little insurance of their own. They have depth in their farm system and could make a move to bring Morse to Fenway, where the Green Monster would make an attractive target for the right-handed masher. If Morse ends up in Boston he could be a candidate for a breakout season; don’t expect a breakout from LaRoche, though, last year was his ceiling and he won’t repeat it this year.
Tim McCullough is the Assistant Editor for RotoExperts.com. Questions, comments and requests are welcome. Contact Tim at email@example.com
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