Pirates approach LaRoche about long-term deal

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates have approached first baseman Adam LaRoche to discuss a contract that could span three or four years, a signing that would be the franchise's most significant since shortstop Jack Wilson's four-year extension in 2006.

LaRoche, 29, can become a free agent after the 2009 season. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility, and Major League Baseball's deadline for exchanging salary figures is Jan. 18. Because of that, there is a chance he and the team will agree to a one-year contract for now and talk further about the long-term deal afterward.

LaRoche yesterday reiterated his oft-stated stance that he could envision staying in Pittsburgh for many years.

"I love the team and where we're headed, and my family has loved our time in the city," he said from his Kansas ranch. "We'll see how serious things get, but I'm definitely in favor of staying with the Pirates."

After an abysmal opening two months last season, LaRoche finished at .272 with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs.


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