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LaRoche not worried about future with Nationals

Sep 26, 2013, 6:00 AM EST

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ST. LOUIS — There has always been a certain, predictable rhythm to Adam LaRoche’s seasons in the big leagues.

LaRoche inevitably goes through a prolonged, early season slump that leaves his batting average at depths not commonly acceptable for a power-hitting first baseman. But sure enough, by season’s end that number will rise to its typical landing spot.

LaRoche has played eight full, healthy, major-league seasons. His annual batting average: .278, .259, .285, .272, .270, .277, .261, .271. It’s like clockwork.

“Every year, I’ll be at some point around .220-.230,” he said. “Maybe it’s around the first month. Maybe it’s the All-Star break. But I’ve never had a doubt that I’ll be right there at .270, right there where I always end up. Every single year, I’ve never panicked about it, because it’s always just worked out.”

Until this season. He got off to his usual, wretched start, got red-hot briefly, then fell right back into a slump that never ended. His batting average peaked on July 6 at a pedestrian .259 but has steadily dropped since. With three games to go on the Nationals’ schedule, it sits at .237.

“It just never took off,” he said. “It was a ton of 1-for-4’s and 0-for-3’s with a walk, it seemed like. And that just doesn’t cut it.”

No, it doesn’t. Which is why the Nationals’ toughest offseason decision may have nothing to do with hiring a new manager, adding a new No. 5 starter or bolstering their bench and bullpen. It may have everything to do with deciding whether they need a new first baseman.

That’s easier said than done. LaRoche just signed a two-year contract last winter, one that guarantees him a $12 million salary in 2014 and, at worst, a $2 million buyout in 2015.

That’s not an easy contract to move if the Nationals even wanted to attempt it, certainly not after a dreadful season like this.

To this point, club officials have given zero indication they are even considering a change at first base for next season, insisting all along they expect LaRoche to enjoy a rebound to career norms.

“Obviously he’s not had one of his better years, but I think a lot of it is attributed to his diet or whatever, because he’s certainly lost some weight,” manager Davey Johnson said. “It would obviously be good to have the pop in his bat that he’s had in the past. … But I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”

Will he? LaRoche turns 34 in November. Power hitters generally don’t get more productive at that age, they decline.

LaRoche, though, strongly believes he can buck the trend, in part by doing a better job keeping his weight up this winter and into next season after dropping about 15 pounds this summer as a side effect of his prescription medication for ADD.

“I started in the last month to put some of that weight back on,” he said, “and I feel a lot stronger at the plate now.”

LaRoche also believes he possesses the kind of body type that should hold up through his mid-30s.

“I don’t know how to make sense of that scientifically, other than I’m not a big guy,” the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder said. “So I don’t think my body takes quite the wear-and-tear that somebody who weighs 50 pounds more than I do does. Time will tell. I don’t have any doubt I can bounce back next year and be dangerous.”

Said Johnson: “He’s not over the hill by any means.”

After enjoying a career year in 2012, earning both his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award, LaRoche desperately wanted to return to Washington last winter. He settled for a shorter deal than he desired, but all along he felt like he belonged with a Nationals club that was poised to make a World Series run.

That run didn’t happen this year, but the organization has every reason to believe it can make it next year. And LaRoche again desperately wants to be a part of it.

But does he ever worry they might not want him?

“No,” he said. “It’s never crossed my mind, and I definitely never worry about it. If I’m supposed to be somewhere else, then I’ll be somewhere else. All that stuff’s out of my control, and I choose not to think about it a whole lot.

“Hopefully they want me back.”

  1. Baseballswami - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:24 AM

    Question- is Tyler Moore our future first baseman or not? It has to be answered. If he is, he needs to play there. If not, he needs to be traded while he has value. The Nats cannot just keep blindly doing the same thing for another season.

    • ArVAFan - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:31 AM

      I would not use Rizzo and “blindly doing the same thing for another season” in the same sentence. Davey, maybe, but not Rizzo. It’s going to be an interesting off-season, during which Rizzo will do a lot of things that will be discussed, re-cussed, and maybe just cussed on this board and elsewhere.

      In the meantime, I hope the guys bring their bats with the hits in them for this last series and end on a high note.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      I would use Tyler Moore the same way Matt Adams has been used by Cardinals. I look at these two guys’ minor and major league stats and I find very few differences. Alright, there is some difference in their plate disciplines so we might be overvaluing Moore a bit. But I think we should hold onto him. These are the type of guys that become Chris Davis one day.

      • jd - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        That’s a very good analysis Faraz. I think the idea of moving LaRoche is moot at best. You can’t move that contract and he may well have a bit of a bounce back year playing for one more contract. I would platoon Moore against all lefties and sprinkle some additional at bats to rest players and cover for injuries. I think TyMo’s bat will come alive.

  2. Candide - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    Love the headline to this story: “LaRoche not worried about future with Nationals”

    I don’t think the headline accurately reflects the tenor of his remarks. But if he truly isn’t worried, he should be. If he’s hitting .220 at the end of next April after a miserable spring, how long will the new manager put it down to, “He’s just having his usual slow start; he’ll come around”? when he has Tyler Moore exercising his gluteus maximus every day on the bench?

    I don’t have the research to back it up, but I vaguely recall some study that showed a tendency for older players to suddenly have one big, career year before falling off the charts for good after that. Kinda like a star going nova; it suddenly flares into shocking brightness, then fades away.

    Whether that bodes ill for Jayson Werth concerns me.

  3. Natsone - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Three words: Jose Dariel Abreu

    • bowdenball - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      I think Abreu is a great fit for the Nationals. 1B is the one position where there’s room for substantial improvement, but they can start him in the minors to make sure he’s the real deal and then move LaRoche and/or Moore when the time comes. If he struggles, the LaRoche/Moore is a perfectly acceptable backup plan. They also can probably get him at a reasonable contract price and length since he’s 5 years older than Puig.

  4. AnthonyL - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    If the Nats hope to have a prayer of beating any good teams next season, which as we saw this week and over the season they rarely did, LaRoche has to go, among a few others.

  5. therealjohnc - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    The problem with moving LaRoche isn’t really the money; it’s finding a better alternative. Perusing the available free agents at 1b, 3b (the “move Zimmerman over” strategy, which btw I’m against), and 2b (the “move Rendon to 3b, Zim to 1b” plan) is pretty meek outside of Robinson Cano. Don’t believe me? Take a look at free agents here. And if you don’t get a decent hitter to fill in the open spot, you’re likely to actually hurt the offense because you are inserting a bat (Lombarozzi? Espinosa? Walters? [Insert Free Agent name Here]?) that is not likely to be as good as Laroche’s next year. Signing Cano would make the “move Zim” strategy a net offensive gain. But it’s going to be very hard to outbid the Yankees, who desperately need Cano to stay relevant – and with ARod facing suspension may well be able to sign Cano and stay under the luxury tax. And even if you do manage to outbid the Yankees, that would require a contract that really would have an impact on the team’s ability to extend Desmond and Zimmermann (and, when the time comes, Strasburg and Harper).

    Assuming that LaRoche repeats a career worst year (2013) in 2014 is nearly as foolish as expecting him to repeat a career best year (2012) in 2013. More likely is a slight rebound season around .260/.335/.480, and an OPS+ in the 110-115 range. Pretty good for a regular player, but mediocre for a first baseman. But the player you plug in has to be better than that, and that’s going to be a tall order.

  6. tcostant - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    You know I was driving in and during the update on the radio they had the Tigers manager on (they clinched a playoff spot last night) and he talked about how he got on his team early to not beleive all the expectations and they still need to do on the field. Seems almost zen like campared to Davey this year.

  7. JamesFan - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    ALR is aging and the Nats cannot afford another year with this kind of low offensive production at first base. Is Moore the answer? Not sure. If they don’t move ALR over the winter, they have got to reduce his playing time and try some other options. I do not think that his glove alone is enough to keep the job.

    Why should he worry? He’s getting guaranteed $14 million in the future. You can shoot a lot of ducks with that.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      “His glove alone”? Huh? Have you seen FanGraphs on LaRoche? They don’t think much of his Range ratings. He’s 5th from the bottom at a -0.9 and tied for 4th worse in overall UZR at -1.9. His ability to scoop poor throws doesn’t get factored in but like Ryan Zimmerman, much too many balls down the line past a diving LaRoche.

      Zimmerman will end up the Majors in UZR at around a -16.9 with the 4th worst range rating at -12.4.

      Corner infield defense was poor and if LaRoche didn’t save 1/2 dozen errors for RZim I’m not sure where things would be. I say 1/2 dozen because I believe TyMo has the ability to save many errant throws.

      • Doc - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        Interesting discussion, as usual Ghost.

        Not a big fan of UZR. But ALR did have, I think, more errors (11) this year than last year. I always thought that he positioned himself well, over the season. Maybe if he made some adjustments he’d be good off the bench.

        Not sure that his stimulant medication did for him, i.e. provide focus, that he wanted it to do. It also caused him to interfere with weight gain. It’s hard to medicate the effects of aging.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        Doc, I’m actually not a big fan of UZR in most cases but there was no doubt that LaRoche was off his game in April and many other times. I theorized it was his back. I think his meds could also have been a determining factor but he just looked too stiff in April.

        I just don’t have the answers because the corner infield issues are complicated. It was disappointing as Ryan improved his throws in September that he still wouldnt adjust to playing deeper and his UZR actually got worse even though his error rate got better. I bring this up because there is a two-fold problem here. You have 2 corner infielders doing a poor job on defense. Case and point was Giancarlo hitting a ball past RZim and he’s playing him on the cut of the grass. Even FP let out some negative emotion on the play. It’s inexcusable to the pitchers to have to deal with the magnitude of all the XBH going past these guys plus all the errors by the corner infielders.

      • NatsLady - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        Ghost, I think in the last few games RZ has been playing deeper. It takes a while to trust your arm. (Even as a fan, I am only just now getting over the shakes every time he throws, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        NatsLady, you are right, he was playing deeper on many plays but strangely moved in on some others. He was playing Giancarlo like he was going to bunt. Strange.

  8. jd - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:53 AM


    When they signed LaRoche for 2 years it was as much a function of not having any one else ready. As you recall Rizzo resisted the request for a 3 year deal (thank god) but LaRoche is ours for next year. I like Faraz’s approach of increasing TyMo’s playing time to the point where it’s almost a shared position. I have a very good feeling that TyMo will become a very good power hitter (he’s only 26).

    The other issue here is that if TyMo plays 1st base it makes our lineup very right handed. One of Rizzo’s main goals this off season is to find 1 or 2 left handed hitting outfielders/pinch hitters to upgrade Bernadina and Tracy’s slots. I am not sure Corey Brown isn’t the answer for one of these slots.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      The Yankees of the championship years were always too right-handed. If your righties can hit RHPs, who cares. You have Span and Harper as 2 of your 8 in your starting lineup.

      • therealjohnc - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        GoSM, your statement about the Yankees being “too right handed” during their championship years is simply inaccurate to the point of foolishness.

        2009: Matsui, Cano, Damon, Gardner, and four switch hitters (Texeira, Swisher, Posada, Cabrera).
        1996-2000: Boggs, O’Neill, Martinez, Posada (switch hitter). With guest appearances by Strawberry, Justice, Raines (switch hitter),

        In fact, the Yankees have traditionally built their teams around LH hitters to take advantage of the short porch in right field. They’ve obviously had good RH hitters (from DiMaggio down through A-Rod), but the heart of the order has always leaned left. And that’s been true since the days of Babe Ruth. You may want to walk back that remark, GoSM.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        Yes, I’m referring to Tino and Paulie. Posada was a switch-hitter was getting less than 450 ABs until 2000. The Yankees also had the ability to use a lefty DH which NL teams don’t have. Bernie Williams was also a switch hitter. The fact is their late 90’s WS teams were mostly natural righties with a good injection of switch hitters.

        The point is that losing LaRoche to a rightie isn’t a big adjustment if the replacement can git RHPs.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    People were telling me in April that I was over-reacting on LaRoche, Espinosa, and Henry. Some of those same people told me Rendon would never play 2nd base for the Nats.

    Unfortunately I was spot on regarding LaRoche, Espinosa, and Henry. Fortunately I was right on Rendon and it is what I said on the day he was drafted and repeatedly until he was promoted to the Nats. Unfortunately the Nats didn’t get Lohse instead of Haren. Lohse finished his season in grand fashion by shutting out the Braves and finished his season with a 3.35 ERA.

    Nobody could’ve predicted the lousy bench or how far LaRoche would regress or even which Haren would show up every 5th day, but the issue even with Espinosa was being proactive. If we knew in November that Espinosa had a shoulder injury then why didn’t Rizzo have a veteran in the wings just in case? It took 4 months to add Hairston to the bench but he wasn’t a solution. Espinosa kept his starting job for over 2 months. Zimmerman was hurting worse than anyone knew in the early season but Rizzo didn’t have a defensive replacement to pull him late in games much like the Cardinals do with David Frese. Pinch runners were rarely employed until September when you had Chad Tracy on base and too often Hairston was left in the outfield in late innings.

    Too many details missed but mostly Rizzo wasn’t proactive in the off-season. He knew of some of the question marks and took undue risks and Haren was one of them. Rizzo has to improve with being quicker on personnel issues. TyMo is the perfect example of a player who had options but Rizzo wouldn’t send him right away to AAA for a refresher. It would have been a good idea to at least platoon LaRoche who was hitting lefties at sub-Mendoza the entire season..192/.248/.308/.556. That stinks.

    Rizzo has tough decisions to make this off-season. I wish him luck!

    • therealjohnc - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      GoSM, the Nationals had a Plan B going into this season at second base: Steve Lombardozzi. Rendon was far and away Plan C, but the Nationals had to wait until he was at least not a fish out of water at second base. Espinosa kept his job because when they tried to work Lombardozzi in, Lombardozzi also flopped. And if they were going to have a lousy bat in the lineup, they might as well have a plus glove. As soon as Rendon was even a slight option, Espinosa was done.

      Being “quick on personnel issues” backfires at least as often as patience. Look at the Marlins last year, and the Blue Jays and Angels this year. Very proactive offseasons, crappy teams. If you’re saying the Nationals need to be right more often, there we agree. But that’s easier said than done – and why Rizzo gets paid the big bucks and you and I are commenting on a blog.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:57 AM

        Davey was unwilling to play Lombo much for the struggling Espinosa. Davey and Rizzo were quoted by Boz in a very telling piece.

        Boz writes “It’s akin to Davey’s recent jabs that the team Mike Rizzo gave him wasn’t quite what he wanted, though they built it together”. Rizzo’s response was “After 50 years I’m the game , I guess he can throw me under the bus a little bit.”

      • NatsLady - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Davey is leaving. Rizzo is staying. Rizzo can afford to be magnanimous. Just pike a GOOD manager, MR!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        It was Davey who wanted LaRoche. I don’t think Rizzo wanted him except on a 1 year deal which is why it wouldn’t shock me to see Rizzo eat most of his contract and give him away.

      • tcostant - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        Besides the mistake of staying to long with Espi, the other mistake Rizzo made was not directing his minor league manager to play Rendon half (or more) at 2B. Everyone could see this coming, both because of Espi playoffs and injury and the fact that Rendon’s hitting was MLB ready. The fact that Rendon was called up to the bid with a hald dozen starts at 2B was just a huge mistake.

        As for ALR – I’m glad we did not cave on that 3rd year!!!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        Tcosant, how come you weren’t supporting me in Spring Training on Rendon? I made daily posts on it and Peric told me each time it wouldn’t happen. Others told me his ankles weren’t strong enough for 2nd.

        Yep, hindsight.

      • tcostant - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        Ghost, I don’t know what I did to you, but your like a bug up my butt every time I make a comment. For the record I said it the spring that Rendon needs to go to the minors and play 2B everyday. I also said the Espi should be bench in the postseason in 2012. The writting has been on the wall a long time, I’m first guessing here, not second guessing.

        So your just WRONG with your comment about my comment.

  10. Section 222 - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    So Mark says that ALR’s inevitable pattern is that he starts very cold, but heats up in the second half to reach his career averages. Except that it didn’t happen that way last year, nor did it happen that way this year. Sounds like it’s not inevitable any more. Or will we hear the same thing next year if he starts out cold?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Bingo! We have a winner. LaRoche is an enigma. Nobody can figure him out. Some GM’s just don’t seem to value him much more than a MiLB replacement as was seen each time he hit free agency in his career and also by the way he was traded. He had a career year in 2012 and a poor year this year. Can’t bank on ALR for 2014.

  11. Jw - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    It’s not hard to see what the deal is with LaRoche. He takes ADD meds so he won’t lose count of his millions.

  12. langleyclub - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Hindsight is 20/20. The vast majority of comments last off-season pleaded with the Nats to re-sign LaRoche. As the season played out, ALR had the most disappointing year on a team that disappointed its fans. Now, they are stuck with a bad contract for 2014 that they cannot dump unless they agree to eat most of it. I don’t see that happening.

    As mentioned above, with Ty Moore as the everyday 1Bman, the Nats lineup is too RH heavy as Zimm, Desmond, Ramos, Werth and Rendon are locked in for next year. The most likely scenario is that LaRoche and Moore will platoon as there is simply no justification to continue to play ALR against lefties. In the 2014-5 off-season, I would expect the Nats to be players looking for an elite lefty or switch hitting 1st baseman, but not this off-season.

    While not the most preferable option, expect an ALR/Moore platoon with Moore getting a lot more at bats in 2014 than in 2013.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Glad you said that about 20/20. I said it about ALR before, during and after. I was almost relieved he opted out of his option. Davey really wanted LaRoche. I don’t think anyone anticipated how bad LaRoche would be this year. Even his failure to make productive outs was frustrating. It took Davey a while but he finally moved him down in the batting order. Can he bat 8th?

      • NatsLady - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        I admit, I was one of those in favor of LaRoche over Morse. They both had terrible seasons.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        Yep and Morse was worse.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Any idea how many fights Nationals were involved in last season? I can remember just one, against Houston or was it Cubs when Porter had steal on and the other coaches took an exception to that.

  14. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Two quick thoughts:

    First, Mark Zuckerman wrote: “LaRoche has played eight full, healthy, major-league seasons. His annual batting average: .278, .259, .285, .272, .270, .277, .261, .271. It’s like clockwork…Until this season.” If you treat those numbers as the sort of distribution you’d get in a stats or probability course, you’d have expected Adam LaRoche to hit between .262 and .280 better than 60% of the time. Moreover, you’d have expected him to hit between .254 and .288 a whopping 95% of the time. In hitting .237, he’s more than two full standard deviations away from his mean going into the season. I know — obviously — that production in baseball isn’t purely about the sorts of distributions you’d get in a stats course, but even factoring in his added year of age, you can begin to understand why all of us — fans, other players, Mike Rizzo, Mr. LaRoche himself — were anticipating a more ‘normal’ year.

    Second, recall that the alternative to Mr. LaRoche was never going to be a full year of Tyler Moore. It was going to a full year of Michael Morse at 1B. If that had been the case, would Mr. Morse have repeated his performance from his previous two years with the Nats? Or would we have seen the same sort of year that Mr. Morse had in 2013 with the Mariners and the O’s (a combination of injury and sub-par hitting)? I certainly can’t say, but it’s worth keeping in mind when discussing what went wrong with the Nats this year.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      P.S. – In looking at Mr. LaRoche’s numbers, the same basic argument — him underperforming his ‘norm’ by plus/minus two standard deviations — also applied to his OPS and OPS+.

    • karlkolchak - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Much as I loved Mickey M, count me as thinking he would have had the same kind of year even had he stayed with the Nats. Morse reminds me of Nick Johnson, who was absolutely fantastic in his one fully healthy year, but just couldn’t stay on the field (even without the horrific Kearns collision, Nick was extremely brittle). Of course, Morse being out of the lineup a lot would have given Moore his shot, just as LaRoche going down really gave Morse his shot back in 2011.

  15. letswin3 - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Okay, a show of hands. Who doesn’t think that TyMo can exceed 237 by a wide margin while joining the Nat 20 Dinger Club? Seeing no hands, I suggest that he has shown that he hits for an even higher average, and for more power, when he plays every day. And I’m satisfied that his defense is, at worst, average at first base, and can be expected to improve with increased experience. Platoon? Are you joking? Why would we platoon the aging ALR, and his anemic batting average with anyone (TyMo, a FA, a trade, Zim) when ALR’s numbers would simply decrease the performance at the position. Besides, what value is a more balanced lefty/righty lineup, when the lefty (ALR) is just another out? Do you really think an opponents manager is going to rush to the bullpen for a lefty reliever because he sees ALR in the ondeck circle? Trade him, and don’t look back….get whatever you can get, pay part of his ’14 contract if needed and give TyMo (or someone new) his shot…..not one of those pathetic Lombo “short-term shots” at second, when Danny was stinkin the joint up, for 3 or 4 games before again returning to Danny, but a REAL shot. This guy (TyMo) is either going to be a viable answer at first base or a thorn in our side when he comes back to play against us over the next few years.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Well they sure weren’t interested in a platoon this year so I agree with you. I’m going to guess that LaRoche will be the Opening Day starter with Rizzo doing a lot of hoping and praying.

      My solution is moving Werth to 1st and upgrading Rightfield and moving LaRoche somewhere. I think Werth would improve from the move and Rizzo could find a bopper to patrol RF.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        I think Bowdenball makes some excellent points which makes TyMo a starter too risky. The platoon is a safer bet if they retain LaRoche.

        I’m not hearing anyone discussing moving athletic 6’5″ Jayson Werth to 1st base. It will keep his legs fresh which should increase his production and allow the Nats greater flexibility to find a corner outfielder in a trade or FA.

        Carlos Beltran might be a decent fit as he could also slide into a 4th outfielder role. Ultimately I think Rizzo has the young players to get Giancarlo Stanton. I think Stanton will be traded in an JUpton type of deal.

        Let the Hot Stove begin.

    • bowdenball - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I don’t care if he exceeds .237 by a wide margin, I care if he can exceed LaRoche’s .332 OBP for 2013 or his .337 career OBP. They let you go to first base when you draw a walk, don’t they?

      And I have serious doubts about whether Moore can even come close to a .332 OBP over a full season. He came in at .327 last year and is at .294 for his major league career … and that’s with the benefit of hitting mostly against lefties. He has a career minor league OBP of .327. That’s right- Tyler Moore makes more outs against minor league pitching than Adam LaRoche makes against major league pitching.

      Moore is a strikeout machine. It didn’t show up as much last year because the pitchers didn’t have scouting reports on him so they didn’t realize how easily they could get him to chase. Now he’s a dead man walking. I have faith that he can adjust to the adjustments next year and be an above replacement level bench bat and a decent platoon option, but you all are WAY overestimating his ability and potential.

      • NatsLady - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        I agree. Unless he smartens up on “See ball, hit ball” he is not going to make it in the majors.

      • Sbklein - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        I have been wondering where all the confidence in Moore is coming from. I haven’t seen any evidence he is above replacement.

      • jd - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM


        You are not taking into account the possibility and even probability that Moore will improve; he’s only 26 and things like pitch recognition and plate discipline can be a development factor. You are looking at his numbers in totality but I think his latest stint at AAA his OBP was .395 over 200 PA. I don’t know exactly how his numbers look like after his return to the majors but he wasn’t playing regularly.

        I am not sure that he is the answer and in any event we own ALR in 2014 but I am also not as sure as you are that he’s a strikeout machine.

      • bowdenball - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM


        I did take some assumed improvement into account- I said that I have faith that he can adjust to the adjustments next year. That said, even if he reduces his K rate by 10% from this year and comes in 30-40 points above his career OBP at the major league level he still would not be anything more than a mediocre 1B bat.

        And 26 isn’t 21, he’s pretty close to peak at this point.

        I don’t mean to disparage him as much as I have, I think he’ll be an above average bench bat next year. But I also don’t think people realize just how bad he was this year. Regardless of what you think of WAR, when a guy posts the second-worst WAR season in Nationals history you probably shouldn’t pencil him in as a full-time starter at a premium offensive position the following season.

      • jd - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        He was awful before his demotion last year coupled with some really poor outfield defense he was actually well below replacement level. My optimism about him stems from the fact that in both instances where he was demoted and then re promoted he showed solid improvement. I also think that the gradual improvement you are forecasting may (and I underline may) be conservative. Sometimes a light bulb goes off and you get a Chris Davis.

        I don’t think Moore will ever be a high average hitter but he may be a very productive power hitter.

      • jd - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        I think WAR is a perfectly reasonable objective way to look at player’s performance. It’s not perfect but it’s better than the ‘eye test’ and anything else subjective.

  16. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    For what it’s worth, Robinson Cano is reportedly seeking a 10-year, $300m contract. Any takers? Who’s the Dodgers’ 2B these days?

    • NatsLady - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      No takers here, please!

    • Steady Eddie - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      As Ken Rosenthal tweeted, it’s a negotiation. Apparently Yanks’ preseason offer was in the range of Wright’s 8/$138m. If you just arbitrarily split the difference to get a plausible range, it’s 9/$231m, or $25+m/year.

      With the track record of team switchers (let alone league-switchers) for huge contracts lately, hard to see a lot of takers for those numbers, especially with the opportunity cost of multiple high quality players you pass up to pay those kind of $.

      When you consider all the varied and huge contributions he’s made to the Nats, including in the clubhouse, makes Werth’s contract look like a bargain these days.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Agree there won’t be a lot of takers, but I suspect there’ll be few, including the Dodgers with their almost-unlimited cash flow. Yankees’ approach will be interesting to watch, given past differences between GM and ownership. Also agree that Jayson Werth’s deal seems more and more reasonable as the years fly by.

    • tcostant - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Cano might get close to $30M per, but no more than 6 years . If he gets a 10 year deal, I’ll eat my hat.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      That has longterm disaster written all over it.

      • jd - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        If the Dodgers are in it all Cano needs is one more dance partner to drive a huge price tag. He won’t get 10 at $30 mil per but I guarantee you he’ll get something like 7 at $25 mil and I agree with you that it’s not likely to turn out good for whoever makes that deal.

      • nats128 - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        Laughable. Hows Pujols and Josh Hamilton and all the other recent big dollar signings. Cano would be a fool to walk away from the Yankees if they get close to $22.5 million a year on a 6 year deal. Hes a 2nd basseman not a shortstop.

  17. nats128 - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    From Laroche: “It’s never crossed my mind, and I definitely never worry about it. If I’m supposed to be somewhere else, then I’ll be somewhere else. All that stuff’s out of my control, and I choose not to think about it a whole lot.

    “Hopefully they want me back.”

    Interesting quotes from Laroche. A suggestion for him. Instead of spending most of his winter hunting and playing that he dedicates himself to nutrition, rest and working out to put some muscle back on that body.

    He’s been a Nat for 3 years now and has turned in 2 really bad years and 1 very good year. 2014 is in Laroches control. Dedicate yourself and get better.

    With the many others its more frustrating than Haren.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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