WASHINGTON -- There has been talk that Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman could be playing first base on a regular basis next year. If that's the case, it would mean Adam LaRoche may not be back with the team. LaRoche and the Nationals have a mutual option after this season, worth $15 million.
Zimmerman has publicly stated that Anthony Rendon is the present and future third baseman of the Nationals. Zimmerman loves playing left field, but that position belongs to Bryce Harper. First base appears to be the only option for Zimmerman to play in 2015.
"Do I wish some of the injuries that I've had never happened so I can continue to play Gold Glove third base that I enjoy doing? Of course I do," Zimmerman said. "But things happen. They are not easy decisions. It's not easy for me to say I have the possibility of moving from third base. It's reality.
"Sometimes those things are tough. That's just how it is. We'll see what happens. But I think it's more important to look at what [LaRoche] has done while he has been here, how much he has meant, not only to the players, but the fans and the organization. He is a great guy, never complains. He is a great teammate and a great player."
LaRoche has been a great pick up since joining the Nationals after the 2010 season. Besides being productive with the bat and glove -- winning a Gold Glove Award, Silver Slugger Award and having two 90-plus RBI seasons, LaRoche has been a quiet leader in the clubhouse.
Asked how tough it would be not to have LaRoche on the team, Zimmerman said, "It tough. That's the toughest thing about this game. We spend more time with our teammates than our families. You become family, and obviously you go out there and you compete, you win games and all that stuff is awesome.
"But just being around him, seeing him in the clubhouse and seeing him as a person, he is a fun guy to play with. He has done a lot of great things in this game. He has been around a long time. He is great with the young guys. He is one of the best first baseman I've ever seen. I learn a lot watching him over there."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.