Nationals GM says re-signing Adam LaRoche his top priority

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
Adam LaRoche hit 33 home runs for the Nationals in 2012. (Getty Images)

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told SiriusXM that he's considered pursuing free-agent starter Zack Greinke, but the team's No. 1 offseason goal is resigning first baseman Adam LaRoche.

LaRoche, a free agent, hit .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs in his second season for the Nationals.

"I think bringing Adam back, makes the winter easier for everybody, because he's a known commodity, he's a terrific player and except for 2011, when he was hurt for the first time in his career, he's been an ultra-consistent player," Rizzo told Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden. "He really stabilizes our defensive effort in the infield and balances our lineup with his left-handed bat. We'd like to get him done, if the numbers work for both of us."

Rizzo said his second priority would be adding depth to the team's rotation, and just because it's second on the list, that doesn't mean he's ruled out Greinke, the top starter available. Adding Greinke to a rotation that already features Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann would be impressive.

"Yes, I've imagined it," Rizzo said when asked about adding Greinke to the rotation. "Thinking about it, dreaming about it, implementing it are different scenarios. Like I said, we're open-minded. I'm not going to close the door on it, Jim. We've spent before in the free-agent market, we've got an ownership group that is responsive about those types of things. But we have to be smart about it, we have to do the right thing for over the long haul, but we're certainly going to keep our options open."

The team's third priority, Rizzo said, was a center fielder. Rizzo said he ultimately sees Bryce Harper as a "power-hitting corner outfielder," but he can still play center for now, so the Nationals don't have to rush out and add the likes of Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton.

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