As the Red Sox nightmarish season has finally come to a close, this offseason marks the true beginning of the franchise's reconstruction.
Finishing the season with their worst record in nearly half a century, general manager Ben Cherington will have his hands full addressing a multitude of issues that lie within the organization. However, one of the questions that is rather unexpected is the future first baseman for the Boston Red Sox.
Prior to the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline, the Boston Red Sox pulled off an historic deal, sending Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a salary dump, James Loney and several prospects.
Gonzalez, 30, was long sought by Theo Epstein and was under contract for seven years and $154 million dollars. Not even lasting two full seasons under this monumental deal, Gonzalez was the sacrifice made in order for Boston to undergo this rebuilding project.
Replacing Gonzalez with former promising prospect, James Loney, who in 30 games with Boston had hit .230 with two home runs and eight RBI. Proving to be solid defensively, but underwhelming at the plate at Fenway Park, Loney verified himself to be just a temporary piece in the Red Sox puzzle.
A major priority for Boston will be finding a consistent bat for the middle of the lineup with a good glove. That being said, Adam LaRoche is the most appealing option on the 2013 free agent pool for Cherington.
Currently, the first baseman options are very numbered, as LaRoche is joined by Mike Napoli, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Carlos Pena and Kevin Youkilis as starting options. The only real fit is LaRoche, unless Boston wants to hand more years and a larger contract to Napoli.
Who do you want to see at 1B for Boston in 2013?
At 32, LaRoche has finished the regular season with the Washington Nationals with a very solid .271 batting average with 33 home runs and 100 RBI. While showing a desire to stay with Washington, it would not be surprising to see him jump to Boston if the Nationals opt to move on.
What LaRoche brings is a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse with some pop in his bat and experience under the bright lights of Fenway Park. Historically hitting well at Fenway Park as a visitor, as well as hitting .263 in his six games with the Red Sox in 2009 (small sample, but still), there really is no reason for Cherington not to make an aggressive push for the lefty.
Following the massive salary dump, Boston has some extra money to spend for some quality pieces to the 2013 squad. LaRoche will likely be searching for two or three years with about $10 million dollars per season at most.
Signing him to a two year contract for $24 million dollars with an option is not a steep price to pay for a formidable and proven contributor.
Attracting players should not be difficult for Boston, as Bobby Valentine is no longer the manager and most of the "toxic" players of the past are no longer donning the Red Sox uniform. Not to mention, Adam's brother, Andy LaRoche is currently a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston's AAA affiliate.
An affordable option with proven abilities, LaRoche should be Boston's biggest target free agent after negotiations with David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Boston's need for pitching is already duly noted, but from an offensive and defensive standpoint, LaRoche is worth the price.
All stats are accredited to ESPN's official website.