Adam LaRoche and the Nationals are “working toward an agreement”

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Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post spoke to Adam LaRoche about his ongoing contract talks with the Nationals and the impending free agent first baseman said “there’s nothing definitive” but “they’ve laid a little bit of the groundwork.”

LaRoche will decline his half of a $10 million mutual option following a strong bounceback season that saw him hit .271 with 33 homers and an .853 OPS after being hurt for most of last year.

LaRoche is 32 and not quite an elite hitter, but because the free agent market is weak for big bats he should have no trouble landing a multi-year deal.

“I would like to stick around for a few years,” LaRoche told Kilgore. “Whether that’s two or four, that’ll be up to these guys. I would like to stay. I haven’t changed my position at all since I made it clear I wanted to stay here. I hope they get it done.”

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.