Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said previously that he’d like a decision from free agent Adam LaRoche before Christmas, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com writes that the two sides haven’t made any real progress in weeks.
According to Zuckerman “there’s little reason to believe a resolution is near” because LaRoche continues to want a three-year deal and the Nationals continue to stick with their initial two-year, $25 million offer.
Part of the issue is that no other teams have stepped forward with major interest in LaRoche, or at least not major interest in LaRoche for three years at age 33 and at the cost of surrendering their first-round draft pick.
Because of that there’s been little pressure on the Nationals to increase their offer and the fact that they also have Michael Morse around as a fallback plan at first base makes them even less likely to cave to LaRoche’s demands.
Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.
Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.
He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.