In an expected move the Orioles declined a $11 million option on Mark Reynolds earlier this week, but there seems to be mutual interest for both sides to re-unite. If the Orioles do sign Reynolds, they will return a key player in their first playoff season since 1997. If the two sides cannot agree on a new deal, Baltimore will have to look for an infield replacement.
Sports Illustrated has proposed the idea of Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche joining the Orioles, simply based on it potentially being a good fit. In the event the Nationals go after an outfielder such as Michael Bourn, SI says the Gold Glove-winning LaRoche could be the odd-man out.
“That could lead LaRoche to make the short move to Baltimore. The Orioles declined an $11 million option on Mark Reynolds and need to fill their first base and DH spots.”
LaRoche had a fantastic 2012 season with the Nationals, he hit .271 and posted a career high’s in both homers (33) and RBI (100). He will, however, be 33 on Opening Day and could benefit from a move to the American League, at least in the case of a long-term deal. Because of his age, the Nationals will likely try to sign LaRoche to a relatively short deal in interest of their future.
Maybe the Orioles could offer more years with a move to designated hitter down the road as insurance.
Sports Illustrated ranks LaRoche as the sixth-best free agent of this year’s class and the fifth overall for position players. He is the highest ranked first baseman in the 2013 pool.
Should the Orioles go after LaRoche? It would seem they will be more aggressive than in years past given the window they have in the A.L. East. It could of course serve the Orioles well to stick with what worked in 2012 and hope to improve simply with their younger players being a year older.