VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche arrived in camp Friday and acknowledged that baseball should eliminate the compensation Draft pick, which is attached to a free agent who is given a qualifying offer by the team he played with the previous year.
LaRoche, 33, turned down the Nationals' one-year, $13.3 million offer -- the average of the previous year's top 125 salaries. The Nationals would have received a compensation pick between the first and second round of the 2013 Draft, if LaRoche signed with another team.
The signing team would give up its first-round selection, though the top 10 picks of the Draft are protected, so any team holding a top-10 pick forfeits its second-round selection, if it signs a player who received a qualifying offer.
LaRoche acknowledged there were teams interested in his services, but they were not willing to surrender the Draft pick.
"Every week, … it was the same team we talked to a few times or new teams calling saying, 'Hey, we just want you to know we would love to do something, but we can't afford to give up that [Draft pick]. It's so frustrating," LaRoche said.
LaRoche ended up re-signing with the Nationals for two years and $24 million. There is a mutual option for a third season.
"It needs to be [eliminated]," LaRoche said about the compensation pick. "Not just for me. There were four or five of us really affected this year. I think in the future, you are going to have that scenario every year. They have to do something about it. If you had a less productive year, it would have been easy to get a longer-term deal or have more competition in negotiations. … It got to where I wanted to get back here. We worked it out. But the Draft pick did not help things."
Free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse is an example of a player who has struggled to sign with a Major League team because the compensation Draft pick is hanging over his head.
"It shows how important it is to get rid of that rule," LaRoche said. "I don't know if that was something the union granted, or they overlooked and didn't realize it could backfire the way it did, or if they were willing to take that risk. In talking with the union a little bit, I think they would love to take that back."