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Red Sox rev up with Victorino; Nats, Haren close

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Red Sox rev up with Victorino; Nats, Haren close

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Boston Red Sox kept the cash freely flowing, this time revving their lineup with Shane Victorino, while the well-armed Washington Nationals neared a deal with Dan Haren at baseball's winter meetings Tuesday.

In the first two trades of the week, Colorado got effective reliever Wilton Lopez and a player to be named from Houston for young right-handers Alex White and Alex Gillingham, and Miami sent recently acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar to Tampa Bay.

Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets is still the prime trade target, with Boston in the mix for him, too.

Josh Hamilton remains the top free agent amid speculation the slugger will re-sign with Texas. Ace pitcher Zack Greinke also is available, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Rangers very interested.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he's been involved in the pursuit of one free agent. He didn't disclose who it was, but seemed to be enjoying this week's developments.

``It's like a smorgasbord of baseball. It's been good,'' Mattingly said.

Boston has been the busiest team this offseason, by far. A day after giving All-Star bat Mike Napoli a $39 million, three-year deal, the Red Sox lured Victorino with the exact same contract terms.

``Can't wait to get to Boston!'' Victorino tweeted during a day of snorkeling in Hawaii.

The Red Sox are coming off their worst season since 1965 and trying to reshape the roster. The 32-year-old Victorino is a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner who stole a career-high 39 bases for Philadelphia and the Dodgers last season.

Recently, the Red Sox added Jonny Gomes and David Ross.

``I think we're making the progress that we've hoped, at least in the early going, with adding those types of players,'' new manager John Farrell said before the Victorino deal.

Victorino's arrival could also lead to a trade of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, coming off a down, injury-interrupted season.

The Nationals and Haren are close to completing a one-year deal for $13 million, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press. The person spoke under condition of anonymity because no deal was announced.

Washington had the best record in the majors last season. The NL East champions already have a formidable rotation led by Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, and want to throw in Haren, an All-Star from 2007-09.

``I've got some young guys that act like veterans, and they pitched like veterans last year for me, and a veteran like Dan Haren is just going to make things even better,'' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Haren was 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts for the Los Angeles Angels. They nearly traded the 32-year-old righty to the Chicago Cubs for reliever Carlos Marmol after the season, but the deal fell apart. Then the Angels declined their $15.5 million option and paid a $3.5 million buyout.

``World Series or bust, that's probably the slogan this year. But I'm comfortable with that,'' Johnson said.

For the Nationals, Red Sox and several other teams, the dollars didn't appear to matter too much.

``It seems like this is a market flush with money,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

The price tag on Hamilton figured to be high. The 2010 AL MVP came to Nashville this week, presumably to talk to potential new teams, though Texas could be his landing spot.

``I expect we will get together relatively soon,'' Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. ``I keep reading that we've got a deal done. I keep asking the guys in the room who snuck out and did it?''

``We left it as he was going to test the market and once he had an idea of what was out there, then we would talk,'' he said. ``We haven't had that conversation yet.''

The Mets and All-Star third baseman David Wright finalized a $138 million, eight-year contract, the largest deal in team history. The sides reached agreement last week, subject to a physical, and Wright planned to talk about it Wednesday at the meetings.

On Sunday, Dickey was at the Opryland Hotel to see a Mets trainer. The knuckleballer will make $5.25 million next year and would like an extension. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson briefly met this week with Dickey's agent, Bo McKinnis.

A trade remains possible.

``Something could happen on either front that would bring this to a conclusion, presumably,'' Alderson said. ``I don't expect that's going to happen today. It may not happen tomorrow. It may not happen in Nashville.''

The World Series champion San Francisco Giants kept NL championship series MVP Marco Scutaro, giving the second baseman a $20 million, three-year contract. Arizona reached a one-year deal with veteran utility man Eric Hinske.

Colorado bolstered its bullpen with Lopez. The 29-year-old righty was 6-3 with 10 saves and a 2.17 ERA in 64 games for the Astros. Known for his sharp control, he struck out 54 and walked just eight in 66 1-3 innings.

The 24-year-old White split last season with the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 23 games for the Rockies, including 20 starts.

The 23-year-old Gillingham was 6-8 with a 3.66 ERA at Class A Asheville in his first full pro season.

Escobar's stay in Miami barely lasted two weeks. The payroll-cutting Marlins sent him and his $5 million salary across the state for minor league infielder Derek Dietrich.

Escobar was acquired on Nov. 19 in a 12-player trade that sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto. Escobar batted .253 last season with nine homers and 51 RBIs.

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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.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm