Aug 18, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) waves to the crowd after hitting a walk off home run to defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 in 11 innings at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals won’t exercise their options on first baseman Adam LaRoche and right-hander Rafael Soriano, according to a report by NBC4’s Dianna Russini.
Both LaRoche’s and Soriano’s guaranteed contracts were over with the conclusion of this season, and the Nationals would have had to pay LaRoche $15 million and Soriano $14 million had they optioned both players, according to baseball-reference.com
LaRoche and Soriano were key players in the Nationals’ 96-win, NL East Championship season.
LaRoche batted .259 last season and drove in 92 runs. He also hit 26 home runs in 140 games. Defensively, LaRoche was spectacular. He had a .994 fielding percentage and helped turn 101 double plays while only committing seven errors.
But LaRoche will turn 35 next season, one reason the Nationals’ front office doesn’t want to invest $15 million in him.
Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Rafael Soriano (29) pitches in the fifteenth inning against the San Francisco Giants in game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
On the mound, Soriano played a key role in relief.
The Dominican product pitched in 62 innings last season and had an ERA of 3.19, his highest since the 2011 season when he pitched in New York for the Yankees.
Soriano also earned 32 saves for Washington.
But, just like LaRoche, Soriano will be 35 next season, and $14 million invested in a 35-year-old pitcher is a steep investment.
To help replace both players, manager Matt Williams and the front office won’t have to look far.
The team can move current third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to first base. The University of Virginia Cavalier is 30 years old, and the change can help with a loss of throwing power.
To replace Zimmerman at third, the Nationals simply can name Anthony Rendon the full-time third baseman. Rendson, who also played second base last season, helped turn 34 double-plays last season and compiled 235 assists as the team’s third baseman.
On the mound, Williams can adjust the rotation, add a player from the farm system or acquire another relief pitcher in free agency.
–All stats gathered from baseball-reference.com