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Posted at 9:23 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Nationals agree to terms with Adam LaRoche

By Adam Kilgore

The Nationals found their replacement for first baseman Adam Dunn tonight, finalizing a two-year deal with an option for a third year with Adam LaRoche. LaRoche, the best remaining free agent remaining at the position, is a defensive upgrade over Dunn, but not in the same class an offensive player.

LaRoche will make $15 million in the first two years of his contract, $7 million this season and $8 million the next. He and the Nationals have a mutual option for 2013. If LaRoche stays with the Nationals for a third season, he'll make $10 million in 2013. The Nationals, though, could buy him out for $1 million instead. In effect, LaRoche will make $16 million over two years or $25 over three.

Last season, LaRoche hit .261/.320/.468 (average/on-base/slugging) with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his eight-year career, mostly with the Braves and Pirates, LaRoche has hit .271/.339./488 with an average of 26 home runs and 93 RBIs per season.

By Adam Kilgore  | January 4, 2011; 9:23 PM ET
Categories:  Adam LaRoche  
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Next: More on Adam LaRoche, the Nationals new first baseman

Comments

first

Posted by: alifaxwa2 | January 4, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Good! Now we need some SP. Hey, you didn't expect us fans to stay satisfied for long, did you?

Posted by: NatsFly | January 4, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

forced

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 4, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Great!!!! Now shove Morse to the pines where he belongs!

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | January 4, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

farce(, don't you love?)

Who's on first. Finally. Welcome, Adam (the infielder, not the writer).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 4, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Adam L for Adam D basically means giving up 10 never-clutch HR's, while adding a very good glove. Sounds like chalk to me.

In their hearts, Zimm & Desmond really like this (fielding) move.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | January 4, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Allright Rizzo and Nats haters, start chiming in on the next thing to be negative about. I uess you'll be complaining we can't sign Pujols now.

Good signing... he may not be Dunn, but 25 HR/100 RBI is not to shabby, especially with a good glove. Makes the infield pretty solid. I still think someone steps up and claims LF, with a CF and a starter we aren't looking too bad.

Now Rizzo turn your attention to getting the arm we need, be it Pavano or someone we trade to get.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 4, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay, finally.

Now let's argue about pitchers.

I still think we're better off with Bernadina in CF, Morse in left, Werth in right, and Morgan somewhere else.

Posted by: gilbertbp | January 4, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I miss the Big Donkey, but all those dingers didn't win the Nats a lot of games.

I am happy about this move. Now a real major-league starting pitcher would be nice.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | January 4, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

This adds a guy who will cut Desmond's errors by 10 and Zimmerman's by 5..... That's HUGE... He will drive in 80- 90 runs.... Similar to Dunn... With Bernadina in Left (ride the pines Morse!) and Werth in right this team has a serious defensive makeover....and our bullpen is going to be lights out! If Marquis is healthy and Maya is real then we will compete this year

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | January 4, 2011 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Not that money matters, but with the option/buyout the deal is really $7M/$9M/$9M.
If he's not worth the third year they have to pay the $1M buyout so the minimum investment is $16M not $15M.

All that said though - a pretty decent deal. Much is made of his 170 K's in 2010 but his previous high was 142 and his average over five years was 139. So, yes he strikes out too much but perhaps not quite as much as last year.

Defensively, if he can touch his toes he has more range than Dunn. And he should save the team quite a few outs with both range and receiving skills at first base.

Now if he can just tell a joke ...

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 4, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Hats off to Rizzo! Great move, I still think we should throw a 4 year deal at Soriano to close. Add him and a good sp and were set for '11.

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 4, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Hats off to Rizzo! Great move, I still think we should throw a 4 year deal at Soriano to close. Add him and a good sp and were set for '11.

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 4, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I think this player was the best first baseman out there even though he was the last of them to finally sign a contract. So glad the Nats did not sign D. Lee or any of the others. Finally a decent player fell to the Nats. At last.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 4, 2011 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Yawn. This is Natinals baseball and this is Nats Town! Maybe they'll draw a million fans this year!

Posted by: jwing14 | January 4, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"Not that money matters, but with the option/buyout the deal is really $7M/$9M/$9M."
---------------------------------------------------------

Not that being accurate matters, but I'd say Kilgore is correct. It's $7M/$8M/$10M. with a $1M buyout option. The buyout doesn't change his 2012 salary. It's not only being anal to try and correct Kilgore, it's really not accurate.

Posted by: fischy | January 4, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Great move. Kilgore says LaRoche is "not in the same class as an offensive player" as Dunn. Depends on how you define "class." Dunn hits more homers and has a high on base percentage, but their career average over 162 games for RBIs is about the same: 98 for Dunn and 93 for LaRoche. So LaRoche'll knock in almost as many runs (that's the idea, remember?. And LaRoche is a MUCH better clutch hitter than Dunn. Defensively, LaRoche is an improvement.
In any event, the comparison should be the Nats TEAM of 2010 with the Nats TEAM of 2011, not Dunn vs. LaRoche. As a unit, I think we'll be better off offensively and defensively.
Now, about that starting pitching, that's still a problem. A wing and a prayer won't cut it. Let's hope Rizzo ain't done on that front.

Posted by: johnmdonnelly | January 4, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

@howjensen (from previous thread):

"Werth replaces the Donk. Who replaces the Hammer? The Ankiel/Morse/Beradina trifecta?"

You thought Rizzo was going to let LaRoche get away. You continue to treat Kilgore's speculation as though it were Nats' strategy, even after he went to some pains to clear up that point.

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Your posts should lead with your name so I can skip them (along with most of Brue's).

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 4, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Waiting for the haters. I agree that LaRoche might have actually been the best 1B of all the FA's (including Dunn who I will miss but did not want for 4 years). We will now field well at each position if Morgan can bounce back. On to the starting pitchers. I am hopeful that Maya, and Wang will have decent seasons, maybe Detwiller will pitch like a number one draft pick and Marquis has to have a better year. If Zimmermann continues to improve and Lannan can pitch like he did the last month then we just might hit 81 wins this year. We will trade Pudge by July if Flores is healthy and lets hope we get decent value for him. 2012 is not looking too shabby(Strasburg, Harper, and at least one of the pitchers from this years draft) and this year should be better than last.
go Nats!!!

Posted by: sjm3091 | January 4, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Not taking shots at Kilgore, and I stand by my interpretation. $16M guaranteed over two years. I don't really care what date the buyout is paid on. If they buy him out it will be over two years and the total will be $16M. (And I'm pretty sure correcting the correcting is at least as anal as the original correcting though perhaps not as anal as correcting the correcting of the correcting ... anyway ...)

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 4, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm not necessarily expecting LaRoche to match his MLB numbers to date but I also don't think his defense will precipitously drop as did Nick Johnson's. Replacing Dunn defensively may not quite be the equivalent of adding a legitimate starting pitcher but it's certainly a step in that direction. Based on comments from Capps, Burnett, and yes, Nyjer, it also sounds like the Nats picked up another quality clubhouse guy as they did with Werth. It will be interesting to see if these added clubhouse presences bring out the best in Zim or somehow diminish his role inside the locker room to providing kazoo concerts.

Posted by: McKinley2 | January 4, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Yawn. This is Natinals baseball and this is Nats Town! Maybe they'll draw a million fans this year!

Posted by: jwing14 | January 4, 2011 10:46 PM

And maybe Poopy will finally give you that reach around this year!

Posted by: Kev29 | January 4, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

And I forgot: LaRoche is left handed!

Posted by: johnmdonnelly | January 4, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Congrats..now we only need to acquire a good SP; then we're all set to have a decent chance for big improvement for 2011 !! Go Nats!!!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | January 4, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Excellent move! This is a much better team than the 2010 Nats at the same point in time last year. This team can run and catch and has the pop more evenly distributed throughout the line-up and onthe bench. Now if it`s finally the Nats turn to have a SP or two take the step to the next level, this could be a very, very interesting season.

Posted by: lesatcsc | January 4, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Since I included Brue in my little diatribe above, let me say this to him:

When you were discoursing knowledgeably on how Detwiler's lack of lower body strength was responsible for his delivery mishigass and hip injury, you were worth reading. I would like to make the following request of you: if the Nats win 75 games or more this year, change your handle from "Brue" to "Pants".

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 4, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I like it. I'll still miss Dunn, but I have to admit this years team is looking a lot more balanced than last year.

LaRoche/Werth more than make up for losing Dunn/Misc Rf offensively. Not to mention the defensive upgrade. I'd like to see Bernadina get a chance to start regularly as well (CF or LF). I will miss those moon shots, but I'll trade a few of those for some wins any day.

Well done, Rizzo.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | January 4, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Good move.You know,a last impression can have an impact,and I remember quite well Dunn's striking out 4 times in the last home game.I also recall,in August,seeing LaRoche turn on a 97 MPH from Strasburg and putting the ball in the right-field seats.And he can field.

Posted by: seanmg | January 4, 2011 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Good memory "seanmg"...I also saw that LaRouche hit on cableTV off Strasburg....another indication that he will be a strong contributor to the Nats offense....and will save more games w/his defense.Good move by Mike Rizzo; and hope for nect objective to acquire a good starting pitcher(Garza??)....even if we have to offer 4 of our prospects to implement this trade...And then watch out for 2011...we'll have an exciting competitive team to watch....

Posted by: fbacolod29 | January 4, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

I think I would tend to give Bixler every chance to win the utility infielder job. He won't complain about being a bench player the way Harris and some of the others suggested might.

Posted by: periculum | January 4, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Great! Now the OF will consist of Bernadina LF, Werth CF, Morse in RF, with Ankiel platooning with 'Dina. Not bad at all! If we don't get Pavano or trade for Garza, I sure hope Ross Detwiler is working out in St. Louis this winter. Hey Ross, hows that walking program going? Did ya make a new year's resolution, Ross? Did ya, huh? Did you get a weight set for Xmas this year, Ross? You know, they have these people called "personal trainers" Ross. Maybe you should give that a try, huh, fella? Hey, did ya play winter ball this year? No? Awww, poor Ross. You have a good time kickin' back the brews at the Blues hockey games this year, Ross. I sure hope you can start stretchin' a little, fella. Pitchers and Catchers report, soon, ya know. Huh?

Posted by: shred11 | January 4, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

"Great! Now the OF will consist of Bernadina LF, Werth CF, Morse in RF, with Ankiel platooning with 'Dina."

Bernie in center is not going to happen... who hits lead-off? They don't want to expose Espinosa there - setting the table with him and Desmond. Need to allow Espy to see pitches at seventh or eighth. I know everyone is way down on Nyjer, but he is the closest thing the club has to a pure lead-off man. Rizzo/Riggs will give him spring training and the early season to see if he can produce. Just needs to slap, bunt, run and not implode mentally (yeah, tall order).

But speaking of Bernie - maybe he gets thrown in a package for Garza? With Storen, Norris and Marrero? I don't think we can afford to lose Desmond or Espinosa.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 4, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - meant Werth will not play center with Bernie in left - for same reasons concerning lead-off.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I know the general consensus is that Gonzalez will be on the team because of his defense, but I would still like the team to bring in a veteran to compete for that position. Maybe Jerry Hairston?

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 5, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

@Kev29:
If Nyjer can't get his act together, Bernardina would be the best option in CF and as lead-off.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 5, 2011 12:10 AM | Report abuse

@Kev29:
If Nyjer can't get his act together, Bernardina would be the best option in CF and as lead-off.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 5, 2011 12:10 AM

With a career OBP of .306 and over 90 strikeouts last season? Even Nyjer can better that in the middle of a complete mental breakdown of a season. If Morgan can get close to his own MLB averages, we'll have a fairly balanced line-up from him to Pudge.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Agree, Kev29. You're assuming Nyjer gets his act together. I hope so, too. We don't even need the 2009 Nyjer, just .275 BA with .340 OBP. That (and fewer CS) would suffice.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 5, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Can't see either Bernadina nor Espinosa at lead off should Morgan falter.

Have to figure on Corey Brown. Looking at his AA slash in Midland :
.320/.415/.502/.916 with 19 stolen bases and 1 caught stealing plus 53 walks.

People can draw a similar parallel in his AAA performance to JMax who also got a really slow starts both in AA Harrisburg and AAA Syracuse in 2008 and 2009.

But Maxwell never put up the kind of offense Brown has generated in the minors. Even after repeating AAA. And Brown is younger. And he projects to be potentially a whole heck of a lot better.

"he former Oklahoma State star had a power packed '08 season hitting .266 with 30 HR 83 RBI 16 SB and 78 runs scored between Low-A Kane County and High-A Stockton. Brown is a stupendous athlete with awesome raw power and blazing speed on both the basepaths and in the outfield. His left-handed swing has considerable leverage and loft that can drive the ball out to any part of the ballpark. He is a solid CF with good instincts and range, but his cannon-like arm strength profiles better in RF. The chief liability in Brown's game right now is his dearth of discipline at the plate. Last season, Corey struck out a whopping 168 times in 134 games played. His struggles continued this fall in the Hawaiian Winter League where he accumulated another 33 in 28 games. Brown does get his fair share of walks (58 in '08) but his overagressiveness and pull-happy mentality will eat him alive at higher levels if he doesn't improve. The A's, though, are quite high on this young slugger and are willing to be patient with a player of Brown's high upside and 5-tool abilities."

If Morgan falters its either Werth or Brown in center with either Werth or Brown in right. Morgan becomes a utility outfielder and that may in fact be his best role given his very weak arm and dearth of power.

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 2:09 AM | Report abuse

"There is a lot to like in Corey Brown. He has the potential to be a 30 HR 20 SB guy at the major league level, but, if he doesn't change his approach at the plate, the specter of the strikeout threatens to relegate him to the Rob Deer and Pete Incaviglia annals of baseball lore."

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 2:46 AM | Report abuse

Before I turn to fine tuning the line up, I'll say I'm pleased with this development and, because of that, the off season overall. We didn't get everything we wanted, but, as Norv Turner used to remind us, the other teams are also trying to win. Starting the season with a complete lineup and improved depth. Probably not going to get a big pitcher, but we have a bunch of them on board so maybe an adequate rotation will emerge. If Desmond and Espinosa and one or more of the young catchers continue to develop, could be a fun year.

Posted by: markfromark | January 5, 2011 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Good signing. Positive responses practically throughout this posting.
Not out of the question that the Nats get Pavano, trade for Garza or Shields, and add a good reliever such as Soriano or Fuentes. I doubt if all that will happen, but it's possible.
I believe Clippard, Norris, and Kimball could get Shields, but I'm not sure I'd want to make that trade. Garza would require, at least, Storen, Clippard, Norris, and Peacock, and I definitely wouldn't want to make that trade.
One thing is certain though--it's going to be interesting. Rizzo is far from finished.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 5, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Thank God!! The Nats needed this guy something crazy. The add of a potential 100 RBI 30 HR LHB in the middle of the order makes the club much, much improved. And a guy who can scoop it out of the dirt as well as anyone will help in terms of saving a few runs too.

Now, Mike needs to run and get some kind of late inning reliever and get something looking like a SP with real upside -- Rizzo still has room to take on salary so maybe a Wandy Rodriguez or Derek Lowe or someone like that could be had.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 5, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

"Good move.You know,a last impression can have an impact,and I remember quite well Dunn's striking out 4 times in the last home game.I also recall,in August,seeing LaRoche turn on a 97 MPH from Strasburg and putting the ball in the right-field seats.And he can field."

Do you also remember the time LaRoche was playing against the Nats and forgot to cover first on a ground ball and then blamed it on his ADD? No? You forgot about that one?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 5, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Smart move. Indeed, the only move to make. Maybe things really are changing down at Nots Landing. Still many holes to fill, but at least they got the best remaining first baseman in the fold.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | January 5, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

GO PANTS GO GO PANTS GO
Pants has got the 25th ranked offense right where he wants it - 25th again!! And this year he doesn't even have Strasburg. Gotta get that ERA down, Pants - it's not gonna win you anything. Neither is the offense. Jeez, Pants, what about a corner bat? You know, a real LF and CF! Boz says they're still below last year's payroll - they need to sign someone like Garza. Give up the prospects Pants! Be a big boy! You only have one starter who can hit 90 mph on the radar!! DON'T STOP NOW PANTS! Fourth place is within your reach!!!!!

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I have never understood this '1st base is an offensive position' mentality. A solid defense, including at the corners, takes away scoring chances for the other guys and relieves offensive pressure to 'get back in it with one swing.' This is my biggest criticism. . . I will take a season full of 9 guys hitting .295 consistently without an extra base hit and collectively committing less than 65 errors. Fundamental baseball.

Last year the Nats committed 127 errors, second most only behind the Pirates. It speaks volumes that the Bombers only committed 69 and the eventual WS Champ Giants only committed four more (73) in the regular season. Of the 127 the Nats committed 64 (HALF!) are attributed to Dunn, Zimmerman and Desmond (who alone committed 34). Dunn was tied for second most of first baseman in MLB with 13 (tied with Miguel Cabrera behind Ryan Howard). LaRoche was fourth.

I have no issue with dealing Dunn away. I have no issue with picking up LaRoche - I think overall he will turn out a better performance and make a bigger contribution in 2011 than Dunn made in 2010) BUT the key to success this year is going to be reducing errors all around - which will allow the starting rotation to pitch to contact earlier with a greater amount of confidence, thus keeping pitch counts down and allowing starters to go deeper, taking pressure off the bullpen.

Did I already mention fundamental baseball?

Posted by: jdwltr | January 5, 2011 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking that perhaps lots of people forgot about the incident, CiL. At least, I don't recall seeing mention of it here in the copious discussion of first base options before LaRoche was signed (although I *did* scroll through most of it).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 5, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

CiL probably forgot about that incident too, until he read it on Nats320 last night.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 5, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, ABM, I stopped reading Nats320 a long time ago.

By the way, there's an important issue that hasn't been addressed yet--can Adam L. get his dad to come down to Viera and teach LaLob to Livo and Maya? I'm thinking it could be an important addition to their repertoire.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 5, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I have never understood this '1st base is an offensive position' mentality. A solid defense, including at the corners, takes away scoring chances for the other guys and relieves offensive pressure to 'get back in it with one swing.' This is my biggest criticism. . . I will take a season full of 9 guys hitting .295 consistently without an extra base hit and collectively committing less than 65 errors. Fundamental baseball.

Posted by: jdwltr

Big league pitchers won't generally make enough mistakes to have a whole team hit .295. That's one reason why you need to take big advantage of the mistakes they make. If it takes three or four singles to score, the pitcher may not have made three or four mistakes, but the ones he did make might have been hit out of the park with different hitters. In other words, if a pitcher throws one down the middle, and he will - if you can't turn that into a homer, you're operating at a deficit. There are power positions because power hitters have certain body types - in other words, someone 6'4" and 240 lbs. usually can't play a middle infield position as well as a smaller guy 'generally' can. But he can play first or third, or RF or LF. So if it takes less mistakes from the pitcher for a power hitter to produce more runs, there's an advantage to putting them in the lineup. Bad defense has as much to do with crappy pitching as anything - if the pitchers can't hit their spots, the fielders can't do much about it. You notice the high error teams are always the lousy ones - because they have lousy pitching, not necessarily bad defensive players.
SF's pitchers hit their spots, don't throw a lot of balls - which will keep fielders on their heels - that's the key. It's all about the pitching. Cody Ross was a catcher, and he played LF. Renteria was 35 years old, and his range was limited. Freddy Sanchez is known for his bat, Aubrey Huff never won any awards for his glove, they used to moan about it all the time in Baltimore.
You ever see the body language of the fielders when Ross Detwiler has thrown 100 pitches in 4 2/3?

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I like the signing and the contract is reasonable but can someone explain the point of a mutual option for a third year? That means they both have to want to exercise the option, right? If Laroche has 2 great years with the Nats he won't agree to the third year thinking he can get more as a free agent. If he has a couple mediocre or bad years the Nats won't agree to the third year at $10 mill.

Posted by: slopitchtom | January 5, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Okay Brue I've got to ask the question, why do you refer to Mike Rizzo as "Pants"? Got to ask because I just don't get it.

Posted by: CHAMP1464 | January 5, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I think in order to truly appreciate this signing we need to consider how we would have felt with an Ankiel/Morse platoon at first and the weak bench that would have accompanied that move. This fills a gaping hole on the field and in the lineup (with the lefthanded bat). Yes we need a starter, and we might need a CF/leadoff hitter and a LF with more pop, but this is progress and I have to give Rizzo credit for building a team that is consistent with his philosophy. Had we added Greinke then the offseason shopping list would have been complete, though that may have left holes to fill elsewhere (e.g., at shortstop). With LaRoche in the fold, I'm content to hang onto our prospects for one more year, or at least up until the trade deadline.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 5, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Yea Champ, I was wondering the same thing. I figured if anyone should be nicknamed pants, it should be Jim Bowden for those leather pants he used to wear.

Posted by: egoodman8 | January 5, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

and add a good reliever such as Soriano

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 5, 2011 6:55 AM

I seriously doubt the Nats are in the market for a Type A free agent reliever. Too decadent for the team that's still at least a year or two away. Only the Dunnkey Sox seem interested in Soriano.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"I have no issue with dealing Dunn away.. . . BUT the key to success this year is going to be reducing errors all around - which will allow the starting rotation to pitch to contact earlier with a greater amount of confidence, thus keeping pitch counts down and allowing starters to go deeper, taking pressure off the bullpen."

First off, Dunn wasn't "dealt" away, he walked as a free agent. Very bad move by the front office, which probably could have gotten something reasonably good in return for him at the trading deadline. Second, 1st base has been considered an offensive position since at least the 1920s, and the most consistently successful teams in baseball history have gotten important hitting contributions from their first basemen. About the only exception that comes to mind was the mid-60s Dodger teams. The point is somebody has to get hits and drive in runs, and the idea has always been that you're better off with great glove/no stick players at catcher, middle infield, and CF.

Finally, I don't care how good the infield might be next year, if the pitchers are lousy, significantly better fielding behind them is not going to make an appreciable difference. You could have Ozzie Smith, Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, and Keith Hernandez in their prime out there, they aren't going to be able to do anything to prevent line drives going to the gap and shots over the fences. And unless Desmond improves dramatically as a shortstop and Espinosa hits well enough to justify having his glove out there every day, the infield play isn't going to be much better than it was.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | January 5, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@champ, egoodman: It is (according to Brue) a British term of derision, used to describe a foolish act.

Posted by: BinM | January 5, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Fifty-eighth!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 5, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"It is (according to Brue) a British term of derision, used to describe a foolish act."

Because British slang is what you want to describe baseball. Hey, maybe they can get the games on BBC America.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 5, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"You ever see the body language of the fielders when Ross Detwiler has thrown 100 pitches in 4 2/3?"

Probably even less pleasant than the spoken language they're muttering under their breath. :-)

Posted by: Fairfax6 | January 5, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Good signing but, Rizzo has a few more to go. Veteran MI, a closer for the BP and a solid starter.

Go Get'em Rizzo, don't let up now!

Posted by: Section505203 | January 5, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"Second, 1st base has been considered an offensive position since at least the 1920s, and the most consistently successful teams in baseball history have gotten important hitting contributions from their first basemen. About the only exception that comes to mind was the mid-60s Dodger teams. The point is somebody has to get hits and drive in runs"

Right, which is why it's not a big deal that LaRoche's OBP is so much less than Dunn's. It probably makes more difference that LaRoche's BA is a good bit higher than Dunn's. Why? Because the only way one of Dunn's walks will drive in a run is if the bases are loaded. And that's what your power guy is supposed to do, right? Drive in runs. Indeed, LaRoche drove in as many runs as Dunn did last season, even with the lower OBP.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 5, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

LaRoche is solid and is a good pickup for a team needing a 1B. But the Nats didn't need one. They created the hole. So the Nats have simply swapped a first baseman and outfielder for--exactly, a first baseman and outfielder---Werts and LaRoche for Dunn and Hammer. That's called a wash and spinning your wheels. There's no improvement there.

What the Nats need is pitching and nothing has been done there.
It's like improving the paint job on your car while the engine is leaking. It's all cosmetics.

Until the Nats realize they won't improve one iota without better or even decent starting pitching, this will be another 100-loss season. And that's a real shame.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 5, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman won't say it publicly but his chances to get back his Gold Glove just increased.

When they signed Dunn here almost exactly 2 years ago, people didn't like it. He was the runner-up to the 1st prize which was Teixeira.

If LaRoche puts up similar numbers to what he did last year coupled with having Jayson Werth and a better bench, this team is much much better than last year.

Going foward, the starting rotation isn't where we would want it to be but my concern is more in the Minor Leagues and the stability in Centerfield. The Minor Leagues has to crank out an Ace arm. Outside of Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, the results from the farm hasn't bared much fruit.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | January 5, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

skins_fan_22 - I don't disagree on Dunn but overall defense and speed are major pluses in the moves.

Also, Willingham who turns 32 next month has never played more than 144 games in 1 season and was going to be a Free Agent next year anyway.

Time will always tell in these transactions as remember the Nats pickup 2 Draft Picks from Dunn so we will see in the future!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | January 5, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Adam L for Adam D basically means giving up 10 never-clutch HR's, while adding a very good glove. Sounds like chalk to me.

In their hearts, Zimm & Desmond really like this (fielding) move.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | January 4, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

That sumes it up for me. Dunn's mostly solo HR's never seemed to win or turn a game around. A 25 HR, 90 RBI guy with a great glove seems like an upgrade, especially with the Nat's ground ball pitchers. Really got tired of Dunn's clumsy footwork around the bag.

Posted by: Natmeister | January 5, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

>>A 25 HR, 90 RBI guy with a great glove seems like an upgrade

Nails. Unfortunately though, therein lies the problem. When you're a team that is pushing 100 losses each year, you aren't one nip and tuck away from a pennant. You don't need an upgrade, you need a complete overhaul.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 5, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What the Nats need is pitching and nothing has been done there.
It's like improving the paint job on your car while the engine is leaking. It's all cosmetics.

Until the Nats realize they won't improve one iota without better or even decent starting pitching, this will be another 100-loss season. And that's a real shame.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 5, 2011 10:43 AM

So you think Rizzo has just been twittling his thumbs and ignoring the fact that starting pitching is a problem? Maybe you should give Mike a call and be the first one to tell him that he could use a good starting pitcher!

They've been active with just about every front line starter available - but top level pitchers (and even mediocre ones) hold all the cards. Rizzo is paying the price for the Lerners' and Bowden's malfeasance between 2006 and 2009 when a cheap, perennial loser was "built"

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Cannot count on the same offensive numbers in Washington. Arizona is the most hitter friendly park in baseball. Expect .260 avg 20 hr and 80 rbi. So it's a major downgrade at offense and upgrade at defense. But it's first base, how important is first base? We needed another OF in the off-season, and of course a starting pitcher. Next year needs to be a big FA year as Strasburg will be back and possibly Harper...

Posted by: SkinsWins | January 5, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Arizona is the most hitter friendly park in baseball."

Oh, really? Ever been to Philly or Colorado or Fenway or Wrigley or Cincinnati or about a dozen other MLB parks? No? Didn't think so.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 5, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Harball Times ranks Arizona as among the five toughest parks, not easiest. I believe they are 26th versus Nationals Park at 22.

Yankee Stadium, the Philly park, and a the Chicago parks were near the top. Not Arizona.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 5, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

On Brue's term "pants". Its slang from GB perhaps derived from the German term "toten hosen" which means empty pants.

Referring to nothing interesting for women to look at.

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Do you also remember the time LaRoche was playing against the Nats and forgot to cover first on a ground ball and then blamed it on his ADD? No? You forgot about that one?

***
Wait, you're telling me a professional athlete made a mental error? The horror.

Posted by: markfromark | January 5, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

when you guys stop buying tickets..the team will either be retracted or relocated..

learn from history..Baseball doesn't work in DC...everything is all or nothing

the guy that stole the last team just died this week in Texas

Posted by: terpsez11 | January 5, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

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