The Nationals announced their option decisions on Thursday, exercising their $9 million option on outfielder Denard Span while declining to bring back first baseman Adam LaRoche ($15 million option) and reliever Rafael Soriano ($14 million). LaRoche will receive a $2 million buyout as a result of the decision, and will hit free agency along with Soriano.
Span, who turns 31 in February, will enter his final season under contract with the Nationals after hitting .302/.355/.416 with five home runs and 37 RBI. The decision to pick up his option was a no-brainer for the Nats, who intend to use him between Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper in the outfield again next season.
LaRoche had a fine season, hitting .259/.362/.455 with 26 home runs and 92 RBI, but the Nationals were thought to be likely to decline his option so they can move Ryan Zimmerman to first base for next season. The Brewers, who will be on the lookout for first base help, are considered an early favorite to sign LaRoche.
Soriano, who turns 35 in December, was 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in his second season in Washington, recording 32 saves along the way. The veteran is expected to get a one- or two-year deal on the market this winter, and will compete with Koji Uehara and David Robertson on the free agent market for closers.