Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said previously that he’d like a decision from free agent Adam LaRoche before Christmas, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com writes that the two sides haven’t made any real progress in weeks.
According to Zuckerman “there’s little reason to believe a resolution is near” because LaRoche continues to want a three-year deal and the Nationals continue to stick with their initial two-year, $25 million offer.
Part of the issue is that no other teams have stepped forward with major interest in LaRoche, or at least not major interest in LaRoche for three years at age 33 and at the cost of surrendering their first-round draft pick.
Because of that there’s been little pressure on the Nationals to increase their offer and the fact that they also have Michael Morse around as a fallback plan at first base makes them even less likely to cave to LaRoche’s demands.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.