Today on our trip around the diamond recapping the Washington Nationals’ most recent season, we take a look at the No. 3 position: first base.
In 2013, it first belonged to Adam LaRoche. In 2012, LaRoche won a Gold Glove Award as well as a Sliver Slugger. He was quite a surprise for the Nationals and seemed poised to have another solid season in 2013.
Things didn’t quite go as planned for LaRoche, however. His batting average dropped from .271 in 2012 to .237 in 2013. Much like his average, his home runs dropped from 33 to 20 and his RBI dropped from 100 to 62. At the plate, LaRoche was one of the Nationals’ coldest hitter and had a hard time finding his swing throughout the season.
Defensively, LaRoche committed four more errors (seven in 2012, 11 in 2013) in 2013, but his fielding percentage stilled stayed at 99-percent. To be fair, LaRoche had to field some difficult throws from the third baseman Ryan Zimmerman who didn’t exactly have his best season in the hot corner.
There as been some speculation over LaRoche’s future with the team. In 2014, he will be in his last year of his contract, but some don’t even think he’ll make to spring training. LaRoche could be a player that the Nationals shop around to see if he’ll drum any good trade talks. If they do trade him away, that would leave an obvious hole at first base.
If first base were to be left vacant, the Nationals could go either one of two ways. They could either make Minor Leaguer and spot starter Chris Marrero the starting first baseman or move Ryan Zimmerman from third to first and then look to fill the hole left at third base.
It should be an interesting season for LaRoche, who could find himself in the middle of numerous trade rumors. While he did struggle in 2013, there is still trade value left in him. Overall, he didn’t play poorly, but it wasn’t nearly as strong as his 2012 campaign. If I had to grade him, I’d give him a solid B to a B+.