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No LaRoche resolution in sight

Dec 21, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Adam LaRoche is holding out for a third year nobody seems to want to give him.

Earlier this month, when talks with Adam LaRoche seemed to be progressing, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he wanted resolution to his No. 1 offseason task by Christmas.

We're now four days from that self-imposed deadline, and with few developments over the last few weeks, there's little reason to believe resolution is near.

The sticking point remains the same thing it's been all along: LaRoche wants three guaranteed years, Rizzo isn't willing to go beyond two. Throughout the process, other clubs have been mentioned as potential alternatives for the 33-year-old first baseman, yet none has emerged as a serious threat.

The Rangers appeared to be LaRoche's best non-Nationals option, especially after star slugger Josh Hamilton bolted for Anaheim last week, but they've hit the same sticking points that has scared offRead more »

251 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. realdealnats - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    NJ– "I agree to a degree" sure reads like it's more than 1/2 way to "I agree to disagree" On Espi–This year we'll have a lineup that'll hit the ball. Keep the gold glove to be at 2B, and be patient. He'll figure out the hole in his swing–at least to a degree–and I think we'll have a gold glove w/power and 20% fewer Ks.Give Rendon a year to prove he can stay healthy and then at some point when he forces the issue, move Ryan to 1B to save his body–probably against his railings to keep him at 3B. This year hope Beast stays healthy and Ryan figures out his throwing technique and figure out which shawarma pick you want in the draft.Of course this is all if ALR walks…

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Great post….with a few exceptions, JayB.We all agree that Danny strikes out way to much. Replacing him with Lombardozzi, especially against left handers is a lose – lose situation. The Nats won 98 games with Espinosa in the lineup.Your personal distaste for anything short of perfection is completely against all things baseball. Baseball is the perfect game played by imperfect people. The team that fails the least usually wins.Danny Espinosa is imperfect. So is Steve Lombardozzi.

  3. sjm308 - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    JayB: while you replied to NatsJ, thanks for your opinion, and Swami, you are probably correct that I don't remember Lombardozzi being on a level with Danny concerning range but I definitely could be wrong. I think competition does bring out the best and we will have a couple of spots competing this spring. I am not sure how Ramos is recovering but that should be a nice battle and of course I am guessing 2nd base as well. The number 4 outfield spot is also wide open with at least two great candidates in Bernadina and Brown. Lastly, the bullpen should also have some open contests for those last two spots. One place where I do not see a competition and this bothers me just a bit is in the starting rotation. Who besides Duke and Maya (almost hate to type that here) are viable as a starter on a major league roster? I realize our top 5 look great but its been mentioned many times before that we can't expect those 5 to go through the entire season without a nick or two. I can live with Duke as our backup starter but would really like to have more depth.

  4. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    SJM-No I wouldn't be happy with Lombardozzi starting at 2B and I think Espinosa deserves to start…for now…but, with Rendon on the way, he is going to need somewhere to play hopefully sooner rather than later. He will be 23 in June, so I just don't see him spending all year in the minor leagues if he is hitting well. Good problem to have I guess. The problem with Espinosa is that he has 2 gaping holes in his swing (high/outside fastball and the breaking stuff low and in) and everybody knows it. They knew it all of last year, and he wasn't able to adjust. He will still put up numbers, but in key AB's it makes life really difficult for him thus leading him to be unproductive in key situations -far below average in getting runners home from 3B with less than 2 outs (37%-league avg. 51%), and moving runners over (31%-league avg. 55%), and hit .209 with RISP. I don't see these numbers changing unless he makes pretty drastic improvements to fix those holes.

  5. Feel Wood - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    NatsLady said…MLB Valuationshttp://www.forbes.com/mlb-valuations/list/If this list is out of date, I apologize, don't see a date on it.Keep in mind that everything in that list is pure speculation on the part of Forbes. The Nats and all other MLB teams are not publicly-owned companies traded on the stock exchange, so neither Forbes nor anyone else other than the tax man has any access to this kind of information about their internal operations.

  6. NatsLady - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    There was a picture of Ramos at a children's charity event in Venezuela on Twitter. He looked like he lost a few pounds. Hard to just what kind of shape he's in, of course.

  7. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I know stats are sometimes overkill, but I thought this one shows Espinosa's potential and his weaknesses at the same time:With the count 0-0 Espinosa hit .394 with 7 HR, 7 2B, and 21 RBI. (As a sidenote-Ryan Zimmerman hit .143 with 2 HR, 0 2B, and 9 RBI with that count. Thought that was very telling about pitchers and their ability to work his weaknesses as the count gets deeper.

  8. NatsLady - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I'm not an accountant but I took enough accounting in college to read a balance sheet. Unfortunately, you don't get balance sheets public for MLB teams. I just put the Forbes numbers out there because someone said a while back the Nats' debt was paid off. We are only speculating on that.

  9. baseballswami - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Natsjack – the Nats did NOT win 98 games with Danny at second. The entire time Desi was out- significant time, Danny was at short. How many games out of that 98 did we won with Lombo at second??? He was a major contributor during that time and was a key factor in the Nats staying at the top. Again, I do not disagree that Danny holds the lead. I just don't see as much of a drop off as some do. Play it back- without Lombo when Desi went down- do we stay on that roll?

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    realdealNats……I agree with the 3 month window to show improvement. I don't agree with trading a controllable commodity when there are options left.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I didn't say he was at second. I said he was in the lineup.

  12. Gonat - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Come on, Peric a year ago was begging for Lombo to leadoff and play 2nd and Danny as the starting SS and Desi to be a bench guy.

  13. Feel Wood - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Danny hit .255 in September. He was awful in the playoff. So was Nick Swisher. Slump… yes…. Hole…. no.Every Nats batter with the exception of Desmond was awful in the playoffs, save for the ninth inning of Game 4 and the first couple innings of Game 5.

  14. baseballswami - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Got it NatsJack– but so was Lombo, hitting lead off and playing second. And as I recall, well enough that the team kept right on winning without a major contributor like Desi. That's why I would be ok with Lombo. He carried his weight on a first place team.

  15. realdealnats - Dec 22, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    I'm worried about back up Starting Pitching as well. Maybe Dukes is an answer, but not Maya in my book. But how do you get solid back up starters when the farm system's big guns are mostly coming off surgeries or not far enough through the program to face ML hitting?Do you go after another starter now? Or pray?

  16. NatsLady - Dec 22, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Yes, he (Lombo) did. But, if you trade Espinosa, then you need a backup for Lombo/Desi. Last year, that middle-infield backup was–briefly–Izturis. The great strength of the Nats line-up is its depth. Unless you think Desi and Lombo will go the entire season without injury, maybe you want to keep Danny. Because otherwise you could have an Izturis type in there for weeks at a time.

  17. NatsLady - Dec 22, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Three middle-infielders are under team control and fairly cheap. Good teams have depth and, yes, a strong bench. When the Yankees were here, I noticed that some of their bench players could be regulars on other teams. Right now, we can afford to keep Lombo on the bench as depth and backup. No way are you going to get quality players for that price, so unless there is another Lombo in the farm system, a super-utility type who is major league ready, you keep all three.

  18. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 22, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    sound argument with middle-infielders. I can't think of another team with such cheap options (except Astros of course).

  19. baseballswami - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    We are indeed lucky to have such depth- well maybe not lucky, maybe shrewd . I think our depth was the reason we were able to go to the post season despite months of DL with major players. Other teams ( well, the one a couple of hours north if here), used DL time as an excuse and could not overcome injuries. Our bench is a real strength. Bernie, Lombo, Moore , all could be starters. So what is the deal with DeRosa? I heard he was retiring then heard he wanted to play. Time for him to coach, I think.

  20. UnkyD - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Good health would seem to allow us to swap a good young back up, or two, for younger prospects, each year, with the core being as young as it is, no? We could be looking at a fairly long run of relevance… It's good to be a Nats Fan!

  21. peric - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    I know stats are sometimes overkill, but I thought this one shows Espinosa's potential and his weaknesses at the same time:Alphabet Soup you are looking at one or two things about Espinosa and claiming them to be defects so egregious now Rendon is replacing him? As good a fielder as Anthony Rendon is he will NEVER, EVER be Danny Espinosa. Offensively Espinosa has just as much if not more ceiling than does Rendon at this point. But let the stats I look at from stats corner speak for themselves:Danny Espinosa paV (a player valuation stat) in 2012: 21,7 highest on the Nats.Danny Espinosa paV in 2011: 21,6. Again, highest on the Nats.As Natsjack said its a game that many deem perfect played by imperfect players. Of them Danny Espinosa has elite athletic skills that put him at a very high tier one that Lombo and Rendon would look up to … that perhaps Harper might achieve … but Espinosa will never be perfect.

  22. MicheleS - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    My comment on Lombo: he doesn't have the range or defense ability of Danny. Lombo is average, Danny is stellar. Yes there is a drop off. I remember actually commenting a few times when Lombo was at second that he missed a few plays that Danny would have easily made. I think the utility role suits Lombo for now (not saying he can't improve).One telling statement about Danny is that Davey compared Danny to himself. Stubborn. At some point Davey will get the light bulb to go off for Danny and it will be something to watch. (she says this hopefully, since she still has the Danny Rookie Jersey).Side of Beef and JW Blue is still on the table, just sayin'

  23. UnkyD - Dec 22, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Please… What is this paV?

  24. NatsLady - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Sooooooooo— Ladson wrote this today.WASHINGTON — There has been "a little bit of progress" made between free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche and the Nationals in the last week, according to a baseball source familiar with the negotiations.LaRoche has been asking for a three-year contract, but it's not known if the Nationals are willing to give him the three-year deal or a two-year deal with an option. General manager Mike Rizzo already has announced that he would give LaRoche no more than a two-year deal. The source also said the Nationals have not put a deadline on LaRoche as far as taking the deal off the table. Text messages to Rizzo and LaRoche were not returned.

  25. baseballswami - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Santa? You there?? Can you help? We've been really good fans. For the most part. Adam and a nice lefty reliever????

  26. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Peric-If Rendon performs the way most scouts predict he will, then his upside will be higher than that of Espinosa. The defensive advantage Espinosa has largely goes to waste because 2B is not a position where his skills lead to much of a difference in runs allowed (based on runs saved statistics). I understand that Espinosa has potential out the wazoo, but based on what this team needs right now, he has to start having more productive AB's. They don't need a 30/30 guy who hits .240 with 200 K's if he can't do the little things that don't show up on the back of a baseball card. I said he deserves another shot and he does, but sooner or later, I fully expect Rendon to force the issue. It seems to me that Rendon is a very similar player with much better bat control. Time will tell.

  27. MicheleS - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Swami.. His name is not Santa Claus, it's Santa Rizzo, and I am totally with you on getting Adam signed (thanks NatsLady for the update, shows no one has dug in their heals on the negotiations) and agree we could use another LOOGY. Not holding my breathe that this will be resolved when I wake up on Dec 25th. Would be nice if they had it all wrapped up in time for the Fan Fest on 1/26!!!

  28. UnkyD - Dec 23, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    paV=plate appearance value?! REALLY?! I spent 15 minnits googling, finally found it at someplace called "statcorner"… And it appears to be nothing more than PA divided by 30…. I knew there was a reason I don't spend any time on "advanced stats". Please, somebody tell me I have this wrong… Not even Peric could love a player simply because he stepped up yo the plate more than anyone else on the team…… Right?

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    Unkyd….good luck on that paV thing. Only genius geeks know how it relates to watching baseball.

  30. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 23, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    Just saw that the Mariners have signed Raul Ibanez. In an effort to generate some run support for their pitching staff, hey have now filled their roster with DHs (a few of whom can also play 1B), so I'm assuming they're out of the Adam LaRoche sweepstakes.

  31. baseballswami - Dec 23, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Ladson is making noise about Cody Ross being given a three year deal but not ALR.

  32. NatsLady - Dec 23, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    swami, I'm on it. Ross got 3/26. That's AAV of only $8.7. ALR was offered 2/25 which is AAV of $12.5. Rizzo could throw an extra million in there and LaRoche would make the same money for only two years. Not comparable.

  33. baseballswami - Dec 23, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    I agree- different team, different situation. By the way- show on MLB right now. – 40 breakout performances of 2012. Looks like several Nats will be represented. JZim got some love!

  34. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 23, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Swami, they should just put the whole team on that show.

  35. MicheleS - Dec 23, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    Swami.. thanks! just set up the DVR to watch tomorrow!

  36. baseballswami - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Five players. Michele– spoiler alert! 34-JZim, 17– Stras, 9- Desi, 7 – ALR, 5 -Harper. Not one mention if Gio??? 3 in the top ten, though, not too shabby.

  37. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    Alumni News: Gascanrahan to the Red Sox for a handful of prospects.

  38. peric - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    They don't need a 30/30 guy who hits .240 with 200 K's if he can't do the little things that don't show up on the back of a baseball card.ACTUALLY, HE DOES … and that's why his paV (a more fine grained, defense and park neutral way of calculating a WAR but less a value against replacement and more a real value by comparison), is so high given all the warts you seem to want to harp on. He's a still young player who hit 37 DOUBLES last season. Who else did that? No one.

  39. peric - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. peric - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    And it appears to be nothing more than PA divided by 30…. I knew there was a reason I don't spend any time on "advanced stats".Its a bit more than that Unkyd. It uses the batV and posV to calculate it. They haven't posted all the formulae for easy access yet its still kind of new. Way beyond anything NJack could ever fathom but to guys like him a p-value is probably a coupon at some bush league florida minor league park.

  41. peric - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. peric - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    LaRoche has been told he has to make a decision at or around Christmas because it probably affects some move the FO may or may not want to make. And LaRoche has to know it affects guys like Morse and Tyler Moore at the very least.Time to step up and say yay or nay. According to Rizzo it can take up to 6 weeks or more to complete a trade transaction due to all the steps teams like to take beforehand. There may be other GM's who just jump but Rizzo? He is going to take his time and make sure it makes sense.

  43. MicheleS - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Blah Blah Blah.. guess what.. even Adam said, the deadline is Opening Day. move on until it's settled, why? Because this is a business and it doesn't move on a a fan's timeline… soo as much as we want everything resolved, guess what, we have no say in this. Still… just a wishin' and a hopin'

  44. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    Peric-"He's a still young player who hit 37 DOUBLES last season. Who else did that? No one." Denard Span had 38 doubles, hit almost 40 points higher, is faster, is just as good if not better a defender, is only 28, but you don't even think he will start. I am confused. Do 13 extra HR's really make up for all that other stuff…including 127 fewer K's…I don't get your logic.

  45. UnkyD - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    I'm sorry, but I'm calling BS, on paV, until somebody can lay it out for me. Go here:http://www.statcorner.com/bat.php?id=457787Look at Danny's PA, divide by 30, and look at his "paV"….try each year. Then click on glossary, and see where they tell you nothing about how they get the number… Come on, man…?!

  46. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    UnkyD…I am partial to the Linda Ron-stadt: the number of times an opposing pitcher gets to sing Blue Bayou. Danny surely leads in that category…;)

  47. UnkyD - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    God, what a sexy song, Eric!!

  48. UnkyD - Dec 23, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    HoHo!!!! Now, on the stat page, click on the column-header "paV"… The following explanation appears:"Replacement value, batters accrue 1 run every 30 PAs"What am I missing, here?

  49. natsfan1a - Dec 23, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Loved Ronstadt's version of that one. Speaking of songs, Michele's wishin' brought this to mind.

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