Free-agent right-hander Dan Haren and the Washington Nationals are close to completing a one-year deal for $13 million, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press.
The person spoke yesterday at the baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., under condition of anonymity because no deal was announced.
Washington had the best record in the major leagues last season. The National League East champions already have a formidable rotation led by Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, and could boost it by adding Haren, an All-Star from 2007 to ’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. “I think he’s a great addition. I’ve seen him pitch a lot over the years, intense competitor, and hopefully we’ll get that done.”
Haren was 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts and 1762/3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels nearly traded Haren to the Chicago Cubs for reliever Carlos Marmol after the season, then declined their $15.5 million option on him for next season and paid a $3.5 million buyout.
A person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press that free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino and the Boston Red Sox are close to completing a three-year deal worth $39 million. Victorino hit a combined .255 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI last season for the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. He also stole a career-high 39 bases. Victorino, 32, is a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner.
• Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals has been selected as the winner of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.
Butler received 80 of 84 first-place votes in balloting by club beat writers, broadcasters and American League public relations departments.Butler, a first-time All-Star in 2012, batted .313 with 32 doubles, 29 homers and 107 RBI last season.
• Closer Brad Lidge, who won a World Series with Philadelphia in 2008 while converting all 48 of his save chances in the regular season and playoffs, is retiring to spend more time with his family after he missed a significant part of last season rehabilitating from an elbow injury.
Lidge, 35, went 26-32 with 225 saves, a 3.54 ERA and 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 603 career appearances.