Earlier this month, the Red Sox seemed to have filled their need at first base by agreeing to terms with free-agent catcher-first baseman
Simply, the Red Sox's continued interest in LaRoche adds some pressure in multiple ways. By pursuing LaRoche, the Red Sox gain some leverage against Napoli's camp. In addition, the talks with LaRoche's camp have been about two- and three-year deals, according to reports, and that puts some pressure on the
LaRoche, 33, wants a three-year deal, and the Nationals haven't budged on that, holding firm on a two-year offer without bridges such as a option third year. The Nationals understand that they will have serious financial commitments to their homegrown talent in a few years and, maybe more importantly, they will have a backlog of infielders then, too.
Surprisingly, however, LaRoche's list of suitors has dwindled and that's likely because of the top draft pick that accompanies him. The Nationals offered LaRoche a $13.3 million qualifying offer, which he declined, and as a result, any team other than his former team that signs him will surrender a first-round pick to the Nationals. Because the Red Sox finished with one of the worst records in baseball and have a top-10 pick, they will be allowed to keep it and would have to cough up a second-round pick, still a valuable selection given the recent limits on draft spending. The qualifying offer system has hurt other top free agents as well as LaRoche. The