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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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MLB Rumors: Yankees reportedly believe Stephen Strasburg is returning to the Nationals

MLB Rumors: Yankees reportedly believe Stephen Strasburg is returning to the Nationals

With more uncertainty surrounding the Nationals' roster than in recent memory, it appears the franchise might be able to check one name off their list. 

Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole are considered the top pitchers available in free agency and have both met with the Yankees already. While reports around Cole suggest he could be primed for a move to the Bronx, it seems New York no longer believes they can win Strasburg over. 

On MLB Network Monday morning, Jon Heyman said, "I know the Yankees for one, believe that Strasburg is going back to Washington."

After a meeting in which Brian Cashman and company brought in Andy Pettite to help sway Strasburg into putting on the Yankee pinstripes, they probably gained a decent idea of where Strasburg's heart lied. 

There was a report two weeks ago saying Strasburg could re-sign with the Nationals as soon as early as before the Winter Meetings, so a return by No. 37 could be coming soon. 


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MLB Rumors: Scott Boras reportedly seeking a 7-year contract for Anthony Rendon

MLB Rumors: Scott Boras reportedly seeking a 7-year contract for Anthony Rendon

If you thought Anthony Rendon was only in the market for shorter-term contracts, think again. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Rendon's agent, Scott Boras is reportedly asking teams interested in him for seven-year contract offers. 

Rendon has long spoken about retiring at the age of 35, so a seven-year deal this winter would take him past that mark. The Nationals already offered him a seven-year contract in September, albeit for $210-215 million and not at or past the $260 million Nolan Arenado signed for last year. 

Rosenthal includes in his report that Rendon will "almost certainly" want to exceed Arenado's total on his new contract. 

This obviously goes against the previous notion that Rendon would want a short-term, higher AAV contract, but if the offers aren't there, the only way to beat out Arenado is to be open to longer deals. 

For Nationals fans hoping for this to play out quickly, Peter Gammons reported Monday that two general managers involved in the Rendon sweepstakes think it will be a slow process.

According to Jayson Stark, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wants a decision from Rendon on return "by the winter meetings or shortly thereafter." The meetings began Sunday night, so 'shortly thereafter' is rapidly approaching. 

The Nationals have reportedly been interested in Josh Donaldson if Rendon decides to sign elsewhere. 

Last week, Nationals owner Mark Lerner talked about how the Nationals cannot afford to bring back both Rendon and Stephen Strasburg. Theoretically, the Nationals could save money on a Rendon contract if it's seven years, but whether that makes a difference in their decision to bring both back has yet to be seen.