The Adam LaRoche market isn’t so hot and heavy after all

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The Nationals would very much like to keep free agent Adam LaRoche, but they’re sticking to their guns at the moment and only offering a two-year deal. Fortunately for them, it may yet be enough to get a deal done.

According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Rangers are not purusing LaRoche, and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli writes that the Orioles’ interest seems “minimal at best.”

ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported earlier in the day that the Orioles were going in “hard” on LaRoche.

If the Rangers and Orioles aren’t involved, that may leave the Nationals and Mariners as LaRoche’s primary bidders. The Mariners may be legitimate threats there, but one wonders if they’d really overpay for LaRoche when they still have Justin Smoak and maybe Jesus Montero as possible long-term first basemen.

Update: In a twist, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mariners are interested in acquiring Michael Morse from the Nationals. Presumably, they’d have to leave LaRoche alone and let him go back to Washington in order to have a shot at Morse.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.