The San Francisco Giants’ victory over the Detroit Tigers to end the World Series last night cemented the start of full-blown free agency. The Nationals will have until Friday at midnight to negotiate exclusively with their own free agents and players with mutual options, most notably first baseman Adam LaRoche, reliever Sean Burnett and starter Edwin Jackson.
LaRoche and Burnett both share mutual options with the Nationals for the 2013 season, and both seem likely to decline their half. LaRoche would make $10 million and Burnett would make $3.5 million, but both have performed well enough to expect a multi-year deal on the free agent market. The Nationals and LaRoche have continued contract talks that began late in the season.
The Nationals paid Jackson $11 million for one season. They could work to re-sign him, and Jackson has said he would be interested in staying with Washington. The Nationals seem less intent to bring back Jackson, at least until exploring other options on the free agent market to fill out their pitching staff.
The Nationals’ other free agents are Zach Duke, Michael Gonzalez, Mark DeRosa and Chien-Ming Wang. Duke showed promise during a strong year at Class AAA Syracuse and in a call-up. Gonzalez would still fill a need as an experienced, left-handed set-up man. DeRosa wants to play but would likely have to accept a minor league free agent deal. The Nationals seem likely to cut ties with Wang, who has been injury prone during three years with the team.
If the Nationals do not reach a deal with a free agnet before Saturday, they can still sign him. But they would have to compete with the rest of the league.
Beyond Saturday, here are more dates to keep in mind this offseason:
Nov. 7-9: General Manager Meetings, Indian Wells, Calif.
Nov. 12: Rookie of the Year announcement
Nov. 13: Manager of the Year announcement
Nov. 14: Cy Young announcement
Nov. 15: MVP announcement
Nov. 30: Deadline to tender contract to arbitration-eligible players
Dec. 3-6: Winter Meetings, Nashville