Thursday, November 1, 2012

LaRoche, Burnett Hit Free Agency

Adam LaRoche, Bo Porter
(Photo: Keith Allison)
Today, Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche and relief pitcher Sean Burnett declined their options and will officially declare for free agency which begins this Saturday at midnight. The Washington Post has more here.

Don't expect the Nationals to sign them to new deals before the clock strikes twelve on Saturday night. The whole point of these two declaring free agency is so they can make more money. How much money, you ask?

Well, LaRoche turned down $10 million over the next season in hopes of a long-term higher paying contract. As the Nationals biggest bat this past season and Gold Glove winner, LaRoche deserves to be paid a little more over a few years.

To give comparison with the money aspect, Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder is set to make around $23 million annually. LaRoche is more than likely not asking for that much, but I would be willing venture that LaRoche wants between $15-$20 million annually over 3-4 years.

Letting LaRoche walk would be a mistake. While the Nationals do have Anthony Rendon, the minor league star broke his ankle last season and finished off the year on the recovery trail. Also, it would be a good idea to hang onto 33 homers and 100 RBI. If the price is right, LaRoche will be a National next season.

Sean Burnett, however, is a different story. I believe that Burnett is more likely to go than LaRoche. Last season, Burnett made just $2.35 million (his option was for $3.5 million). He'll likely be looking for something around $4-$5 million annually and over 2-3 years.

However, if the Nationals were to let Burnett walk, it would not be the end of the world. Burnett was by no means the star of the bullpen and is coming off of surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow.

The Nationals would have Tyler Clippard, Tom Gorzelanny, Drew Storen, Ryan Matheus, and Craig Stammen in the bullpen. I don't want to get your hopes up prematurely, but Todd "Coffey Time" Coffey will be available this free agency.

Both Burnett and LaRoche have been adamant they want to stay in Washington and the Nationals have said that they want to retain both players. Maybe that kind of mindset will aid in the negotiation process and both will be willing to give a little to make a deal work.

Question: Do you think the Nationals should resign LaRoche and/or Burnett? Leave your answer in a comment below!

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Source: Washington Post
Salary Source: ESPN