Adam LaRoche hopeful of re-signing with Nationals, but talking to “a few other teams”

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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.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.