Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 1/16/13
  Throughout the offseason, The Nats Blog will look back at every player’s 2012 season to summarize and analyze his performance, and we’ll look ahead to his possible role in 2013. We’ll go from #1 Steve Lombardozzi all the way to #63 Henry Rodriguez until Spring Training. Enjoy. Until yesterday with the surprise signing of Rafael Soriano, first baseman Adam LaRoche was probably the hottest topic of the Washington Nationals offseason. After LaRoche’s first season in Washington, which was derailed almost immediately when he injured his shoulder, Nats fans and even manager Davey Johnson’s expectations were low. LaRoche hit just .172 and struck out 37 times in 43 games in 2011, but he quickly proved to his D.C. audience that those were not numbers they should come to expect from him. In LaRoche’s team-MVP-caliber season in 2012, he finished with an offensive slash line of .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI. He ranked among the top 25 players in the National League in six offensive categories: home runs (4th), RBI (8th), slugging percentage (12th), on-base plus slugging (13th), walks (12th), and doubles (18th). LaRoche's offensive production earned him his first Silver Slugger award, and his steady defense (.995 fielding percentage) won him his first Gold Glove as he became known as the anchor of the Nationals infield. His incredible contributions to the team are what prompted Johnson to say that the Nationals needed LaRoche back more than they needed him back (an especially radical claim after Johnson won NL Manager of the Year) and why he offered to fly LaRoche and all of his cattle to Florida for Spring Training if that was what it took to get him to be a National in 2013. When a manager is willing to go to those lengths to re-sign a player, even if only in jest, you know that player is something special.  Next Year: After signing his $24 million deal, LaRoche is slated to be the Nationals’ first baseman for the next two years, with a mutual option for a third. His steady hand at first gave the Nats one of the best infields in baseball in 2012, and now all the pieces are in place for a repeat performance in 2013. Up Next: #26 Jesus Flores
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61

Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers

Sheldon Richardson escapes felony charges for recent arrest

Lawyer who litigated against NFL: Brady plays every game

Cowboys should sign interested RB Steven Jackson

Jameis Winston confirmed as Buccaneers starting QB

Bernard Pollard backs Tom Brady, disagrees with suspension

Cardale Jones continues to show love toward Ronda Rousey

Joseph Randle on Steven Jackson: ‘He’s at home watching’

Evan Turner reps Ohio State after NBA Africa game

The Wind Up: a wild and crazy trade deadline

DeMarco Murray: fantasy football’s riskiest pick

Jim Harbaugh has interesting name for rival Ohio State

Jimmy Garoppolo: the most interesting QB in the world

San Francisco Giants: impact of adding Mike Leake

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

RB signed by Chiefs day after tweeting them highlight video

Evgeni Malkin had real penguins at his birthday party

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker