Adam LaRoche formally declined the Washington Nationals’ $13.3 million qualifying offer on Friday evening, ensuring that if the first baseman signs elsewhere this offseason the Nationals will receive a compensatory pick in the 2013 draft.
It was not a surprise that LaRoche declined the offer, even as the two sides continue to stay in touch about potentially keeping LaRoche in Washington on a multi-year contract. After a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger-winning season, LaRoche is looking for a longer-term commitment than the one-year qualifying offer would provide.
None of the nine free agents league wide who were given qualifying offers accepted. Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Nick Swisher, Josh Hamilton, Rafael Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Kyle Lohse and LaRoche will all cost a draft pick if they do not re-sign with their 2012 club. David Ortiz also declined his qualifying offer but the slugger has already signed a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox.
The Nationals have made their desire to keep LaRoche in the fold clear, but the 33-year-old is arguably the top free agent first baseman on the market and he’s expected to draw interest from a number of teams. The Red Sox and Rangers have already been reported as interested.