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LaRoche gets $24M, 2-year deal to stay with Nats

LaRoche gets $24M, 2-year deal to stay with Nats

WASHINGTON (AP) The wait for Adam LaRoche to make up his mind had played out long enough. It was time to decide if he would take the Washington Nationals' offer or move on.

The slugging first baseman decided to stay with the Nationals on Tuesday, agreeing to a $24 million, two-year deal with a mutual option for a third year. He wanted a full three-year contract, but Washington was never going to offer one.

``I think we both were getting tired of the process,'' Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. ``We had a lot of conversations back and forth with his representative. Adam and I had a few private conversations. ... I made it clear to Adam that it's time to get this thing done. Make a decision. Our offer is what it is. It's been on the table for a while. It's time to think of your options and pull the trigger if you want to be here.''

LaRoche's return completes the final piece of an expected starting lineup for the defending NL East champions and renders Michael Morse expendable. Morse played outfield last year but would have moved to first base if LaRoche had not re-signed, giving the Nationals much of the leverage they needed to balk at LaRoche's bid for the extra year in the contract.

La Roche gets $10 million next year and $12 million in 2014, and the deal includes a $15 million mutual option for 2015 with a $2 million buyout.

He had a superb 2012 at the plate - .271 average, 33 home runs, 100 RBIs - but he's 33 years old, and Washington is flush with young, emerging talent that will cost a lot of money to keep in a few years. Also, LaRoche's value was hampered on the open market because any team signing him would have forfeited a supplementary first-round draft pick to the Nationals.

``We were in a pretty enviable position negotiating-wise because our other option was already under contract and in-house,'' Rizzo said. ``And that allowed us to be so patient with Adam.''

Now it will be the Nationals' turn to test the trade market with Morse, who lost his outfield spot when Washington acquired Denard Span in a trade in November. Morse batted .291 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs in 102 games last year.

``We're certainly not going to give him away,'' Rizzo said. ``But if we can make the right deal that works for Mike and for us as a franchise, we'll certainly do that deal.''

Shortly after the news broke that LaRoche's deal was done, Morse tweeted: ``Hey everyone, going silent for a while.''

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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