Padres Free Agency Target: Adam LaRoche
Recently declined on his option from the Washington Nationals, Adam LaRoche is now on this edition of the Friars On Base free agency watch. Fans alike have not been too thrilled with the production, lack thereof, with current first baseman Yonder Alonso. Alonso could use a fire under his current seat and veteran Adam LaRoche could be that bat that we thought Yonder Alonso was going to be.
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Although LaRoche is older (34), the first baseman spot has been a huge letdown in the lineup since Adrian Gonzalez departed after the 2010 season. 2011 we saw the Padres try to replace Gonzalez with ex-Rockie Brad Hawpe. Nope. Padres need a power-hitting bat at this position and LaRoche has always had success at Petco Park. Per Baseball-Reference, out of the 243 home runs in his career, 10 have come from Petco Park, 6th in all ballparks he’s played in. Also, he loves the N.L. West, hitting 15 at Chase Field in Arizona and also 10 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
LaRoche can be pricey and sometimes injured, as his mutual option was for about $15 million. He was bought out by the Nats for $2 million and will probably make less than or the same if he decides to take his talents to the Gaslamp, and most likely would not get a multi-year deal. Per HardballTalk, LaRoche was mainly not asked back due to All-Star Ryan Zimmerman moving from third to first. LaRoche wanted to return, but the Nationals declined.
If somehow he could work out in San Diego, the Padres could finally have another home run bat in the lineup. LaRoche had a decent 2013 season in Washington hitting .255 with 25 home runs and career highs in walks and OPS. This would be an instant upgrade and would already be favored to lead San Diego in home runs.