Nats' contract talks with LaRoche at 'stalemate'

Nats' contract talks with LaRoche at 'stalemate'

WASHINGTON -- Almost two weeks after the Winter Meetings ended, free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche and the Nationals "are at a stalemate" when it comes to contract negotiations, according to a baseball source. The source went so far as to say that nothing has changed since the season came to an end last October.

LaRoche has not changed his stance as far as what he wants in his new deal. He is seeking three years, but the Nationals are offering no more than two. After the Winter Meetings ended, the Nats were confident they would re-sign LaRoche.

It's unknown what LaRoche's next move will be, but it's not a secret that the Rangers need a left-handed slugger like LaRoche after outfielder Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels. The Red Sox haven't finalized their three-year deal with Mike Napoli, so LaRoche could be back in the mix with Boston if that falls through.

LaRoche was Washington's MVP during the 2012 season, hitting .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.

If the Nationals are unable to sign LaRoche, they could put Michael Morse or Tyler Moore at first base. There is still a possibility that Morse could be traded for pitching prospects.

By 2015, the Nats most likely would be ready to put Matthew Skole at first base. A third baseman by trade, Skole -- one of the team's top prospects and the organization's Minor League Player of the Year this past season -- played for Class A Hagerstown and Potomac and hit a combined .291 with 27 home runs and 104 RBIs. He most likely will start the 2013 season with Double-A Harrisburg.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.