Angels release Carlos Pena, who still wants to continue his playing career at age 35

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times has the report from Arizona …

Pena had only an outside shot at an Opening Day roster spot and sealed his fate by batting .139/.205/.167 with 14 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances in the Cactus League. The 35-year-old has hit .201/.327/.351 in 249 regular-season games since the start of 2011 and he rates poorly defensively at first base.

Anaheim also cut ties with catcher Yorvit Torrealba and infielder Chad Tracy on Sunday.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.