Adam LaRoche, Sean Burnett decline options with Nationals

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First baseman Adam LaRoche and reliever Sean Burnett are officially free agents after both players declined their half of mutual options with the Nationals.

LaRoche turned down $10 million and Burnett turned down $3.5 million after the team previously exercised its half of both options.

LaRoche will have no trouble securing a multi-year deal on the open market and may end up re-signing with the Nationals for significantly more than $10 million, so it was an easy call for him.

Burnett seems like less of a sure thing to snag a big multi-year deal considering he dealt with elbow problems in the second half and underwent surgery to remove a bone spur after the season. On the other hand Burnett is a 30-year-old lefty with a 2.81 ERA in 202 innings since joining the Nationals, so he won’t struggle to find work and probably started drooling along with every other reliever when he saw Brandon League’s contract with the Dodgers.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.