But the Nationals want to prevent that from happening and hope to re-sign LaRoche, who enjoyed the best season of his career last season. According to MLB.com, the negotiations between the team and the first baseman are moving slowly.
After hitting .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBIs, LaRoche is reportedly looking for a three-year deal. The Nationals extended a qualifying offer of $13.3 million, but LaRoche turned it down.
Based on the report, however, the 33-year-old’s preference is to stay with the Nationals. That’s why Washington general manager Mike Rizzo is holding out hope that they’ll come to an agreement.
“We’ve been in contact [with his representative],” Rizzo told MLB.com. “We’ve touched base a couple times since the season ended. We continue to talk and we’ll see where it leads us.”
The Red Sox are rumored to be pursuing LaRoche as well. After trading Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers in August, the club finished the season by platooning Mauro Gomez and James Loney in his place.
Loney has since entered free agency and the Red Sox are unlikely to sign him. Gomez, meanwhile, has shown raw power, but has a ways to go before taking over as an everyday first baseman.
A Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner last season, LaRoche is a more proven player who could handle taking over the position.
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