Adam LaRoche signed a 2-year, $16 million contract with the Washington Nationals earlier today. He will be taking a physical on Tuesday. After Derrek Lee had latched on to the Baltimore ban-wagon, Washington turned to LaRoche and offered him a deal and they hammered the details in almost no time.
Just like with the Oakland Athletics, I am also a little obsessed with the Nationals. I mean, who wouldn't? An up and coming team with some future star players, sounds awesome to me.
LaRoche is a step down from Adam Dunn, who played in the nation's capital for two years, but just like Dunn, LaRoche is a consistent player who turns in solid numbers year after year. He has hit exactly 25 home runs in the past three seasons, just like Adam Dunn hit 40 home runs for four seasons in a row.
But LaRoche's batting average fell a little last year: .261- his second worst average in his career. When you see that his BABIP from last year was in line with his career, it makes it look like he got unlucky. But his strikeout rate was up last year to 30.7%. His career strike out rate is 25%. His O-Swing% was also up from his career: 2010: 28.1%. Career: 23.6%. And since he is a below average O-Contact% hitter, it brought his average down because he was swing more so at pitches out of the zone then normally. This also says that he just had bad pitch selection last year. There has been no inconsistent trend with these numbers in his career so it shows that this should be a one year thing and that he should return to normal in this upcoming season.
LaRoche will join Ryan Zimmerman, the highly touted Danny Espinosa, and Ian Desmond in the infield.
Don't expect anything new from LaRoche, after all, he is consistent, and his average should raise back to the .270 range.
The Nationals are really having a great off-season concidering how hard it probably is for GM Mike Rizzo to bring in big names.
(Statistics in courtesy of: fangraphs.com, espn.com, and baseball-reference.com)