The Washington Nationals and first baseman Adam LaRoche have agreed on a two-year deal (via the Washington Post). The terms are not yet known, though the initial offer was believed to be roughly around $25 million.
This signing should force the Nationals into making another move this offseason: the likely trade of Michael Morse, who suddenly is forced out of an everyday job with LaRoche manning first base and a probable outfield trio of Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth in Washington.
Though the 30-year-old—who will turn 31 prior to the start of 2013 season—has a rather short MLB track record, Morse does provide the trade market with an affordable and viable power bat from the right side of the plate.
Morse’s best season was in 2011, when he batted .303/.360/.550 with 31 home runs with 95 runs batted in.
While there could be a throng of competition for Morse’s services—who has one year left on a two-year extension he signed last winter valued at $6.75 million—the Kansas City Royals should attempt to enter the fray.
Though the Royals appear committed to Jeff Francoeur in right field this season—especially after trading top prospect Wil Myers this winter—trading for Morse would be an immediate upgrade for this team.
Francoeur is coincidentally owed $6.75 million in 2013 as well.
Kansas City seemingly has enough of what the Nationals would require in return: bullpen help and prospects to help restock their cupboard in the farm system.
Though it would probably take the Royals unloading Francoeur—either in an impossible trade scenario given his contract and production, or releasing him outright—the chance to add Morse to a group that has the potential to be one of the better offenses in the American League should at least be mulled over by general manager Dayton Moore.
Kansas City has taken their shots this offseason by bolstering their starting rotation. The additions of James Shields and Wade Davis (acquired in the Myers’ trade with the Tampa Bay Rays), and Ervin Santana, along with Jeremy Guthrie being retained, should signal a marked improvement in the team’s starting pitching.
However, those moves should be regarded more as a means to an end rather than the climax of what the Royals are seeking to accomplish.
Bringing Morse on board would only add to a very strong offseason in Kansas City and help expedite the turnaround of this once proud franchise.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.