The short-term obligation [Arizona contract] allows LaRoche to go back out on the market next fall, so if he has a strong season, he could put himself in position for the kind of three-year, $30 million deal teams say he was looking for. But to be clear, this is a gamble worth $13 million -- the amount of guaranteed money LaRoche walked away from -- because he'll be competing for dollars against other first basemen who will be on the market next fall, such as Lance Berkman, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee and Paul Konerko.
It certainly looks like LaRoche played his cards wrong this off-season. He does have an option on his contract with Arizona, so he could wait yet another year before heading back onto the market. If he does go back on the market next year he will face some really stiff competition, but at the same time there will be more first base jobs available, and some teams may be looking for a less costly option than the guys mentioned above.
It will be interesting to watch next off-season.