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Adam LaRoche free agent rumors: Brewers could pursue 1B if cut loose by Nationals

The Nationals are likely to buy out Adam LaRoche's option for 2015. If they do, the Brewers may jump on the 35-year-old first baseman.

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Patrick Smith

The Brewers are, still, without a first baseman. In essence, they have been without a first baseman since Corey Hart's knees stopped working back before the 2013 season. They've had stopgaps, some slightly better than others, but no real solution at the position.

Those stopgaps have led to an MLB-worst .275 OBP, an MLB-worst .365 SLG%, an MLB-worst 641 OPS, an MLB-worst .282 wOBA, an MLB-worst 73 wRC+ and an MLB-worst -3.7 fWAR at the position since the start of 2013.

Over the same time-frame, Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has hit .248/.347/.429 with 46 homers. That's good for a .339 wOBA and 115 wRC+. LaRoche is also a possible free agent this offseason and, as Todd Rosiak opines, he would be a likely Brewers target if available.

The Nationals currently hold an option on LaRoche for $15 million with a $2 million buyout. Washington will likely choose to decline his option and move Ryan Zimmerman over to first base, leaving LaRoche available to the highest bidder. Rosiak says the Brewers would be most likely to pursue a deal if it can be limited to just two years.

LaRoche, who will be heading into his age-35 season next year, certainly isn't a long-term solution to first base, but he would be someone who could spend a couple of years at the position while a long-term solution is found. For now, the Brewers' best internal options seem to be the unproven Matt Clark or moving Ryan Braun back to the infield. Signing LaRoche would offer significantly less risk.

Of course, the Brewers will still need to pony up a fair amount of money if they hope to sign him. LaRoche could be looking at something similar to the three year, $36 million deal Aramis Ramirez signed with Milwaukee a few years ago. If he takes a two-year deal, it might well be at a higher average annual value.

The price of LaRoche may also seem high for a player who has produced just 2.1 fWAR and 2.3 rWAR over the past two years. That's due mostly to very poor defensive numbers. He's generally regarded as a fairly solid first baseman, though, and even won a Gold Glove in 2012 for what it's worth. Of course, even those fairly average WAR numbers represent a huge jump from what the Brewers have had in recent history.

For now, this is only the slightest of rumors. If the Nationals do indeed choose to buy out LaRoche's option, look for the Brewers to be interested, though.