Nothing much has changed in negotiations between Adam LaRoche and the Nationals. While LaRoche wants a three-year deal, the Nationals aren’t willing to budge beyond two guaranteed years. With no resolution in sight, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post checked in with LaRoche yesterday for an update.
“We’re talking to a few other teams,” LaRoche said Friday evening in a voicemail. “Got to keep things open in case Washington doesn’t work out. I’m still hopeful that it will, but as you know it takes two sides cooperating to make that happen. I’m doing everything I can.”
One of the other teams reportedly involved is the Red Sox, though some have speculated that they have kept in touch in order to pressure Mike Napoli into signing a modified contract due to his hip issue. Signing LaRoche would cost the Red Sox their second round pick in 2013 and it’s unclear whether they would be willing to do that. Napoli wasn’t given a qualifying offer by the Rangers, so he isn’t tied to draft pick compensation.
If the Nationals end up re-signing LaRoche, they are expected to listen to trade offers for Michael Morse. If LaRoche signs elsewhere, they would simply use Morse at first base.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.