Craig Heist, wtop.com
NASHVILLE — Two days into the Winter Meetings, the Nationals' situation with first baseman Adam LaRoche hasn't changed much.
The Nationals are willing to offer a three-year deal while LaRoche is seeking a three-year contract - deservedly so after coming off a 33 homerun, 100 RBI, Gold Glove season.
"I wouldn't say there any new developments on Adam LaRoche," said Nats GM Mike Rizzo in his daily briefing with the media.
"We touched base with his agent last night and haven't heard anything since then."
LaRoche has said all along he wants to return to the Nationals but the organization is steadfastly insisting on a three-year deal, but Rizzo remained hopeful something can be worked out between the two sides.
"I still feel optimistic we can get him signed," Said Rizzo.
"He wants to be here and we want him here so I am optimistic."
Asked if there was a chance a deal could be reached before the end of the Winter Meetings, Rizzo was noncommittal.
"I'm not going to put a time frame on it. Our offer is on the table and we're not going to pressure Adam into doing something sooner than he is ready to do it," said Rizzo.
Manager Davey Johnson had players past and present and some old teammates attend a celebrity golf tournament in Florida recently and LaRoche was one of the participants.
"I tried to give him the best team," Johnson said jokingly. "I had him and Rizzo around each other a lot and I told him, bring a pen from Kansas."
It didn't happen at the golf tournament and now Johnson may have to take matters into his own hands.
Adam LaRoche is going to come back," said Johnson "I mean, if I have to go to Kansas and take him and all his cattle to Florida, I will."
It is no secret a lot of what happens with LaRoche will also have a direct effect on whether or not the club trades Michael Morse. If they can't re-sign LaRoche, the general feeling is they will send Morse to first base.
Morse missed the first 50 games of last season with a right lat strain but still managed to hit 18 home runs with 62 RBI while hitting .291. In 2011, Morse had his breakout season hitting 31 homers with 95 RBI while hitting .303 and there have been inquiries from other teams as to his availability.
"He has drawn interest. We have fielded calls about him but we have not made one call about him. We have fielded a lot of calls and you can see the reason why. He is a middle of the lineup hitter that puts up big numbers and he hits for average and for power," said Rizzo.
With the trade that brought center fielder Denard Span from Minnesota for minor- league pitcher Alex Meyer, the team's plan is to move Bryce Harper to left field and Jayson Werth to right, leaving Morse the odd man out. And Johnson doesn't see a scenario where the Nats keep both players.
"Once you have everyday players that have established that their credentials in the Major Leagues are pretty good, it's hard to start sharing roles. But, that's part of baseball and we might have to make a move if we get too heavy that way."
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