Davey Johnson says there are “positive signs” Adam LaRoche will re-sign before Christmas

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The Nationals were expressing confidence during the Winter Meetings that they would be able to strike a contract with free agent slugger Adam LaRoche.

Over a week later no deal has been struck, but the Nats still feel pretty good about the whole thing.

According to beat writer Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, manager Davey Johnson said on Wednesday afternoon that he’s been seeing “positive signs” that an agreement will soon be reached.

LaRoche hit .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI in 154 games this summer for Washington and won a Gold Glove for his defense at first base. He began the offseason hoping for something fairly long-term after such a productive 2012, but the Nationals and other teams have only made him two-year proposals. Maybe that’ll change for him after a few more big-ticket free agents find landing spots.

LaRoche, who turned 33 last month, is a .268/.338/.482 career hitter in the major leagues.

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.