Burnett signs with Angels, Howell talks could heat up (Nats confident on LaRoche)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Sean Burnett has found a new home.

Burnett has agreed to terms on a two-year with the Angels, according to multiple reports. The left-handed reliever, who spent the last 3 1/2 seasons with the Nationals, will get just under $9.5 over the two years, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.

The contract includes a club option for a third year.

Update: It's actually two-year, $8 million deal, according to the L.A. Times.

Those terms are a bit surprising considering the Giants gave left-hander Jeremy Affeldt three years and $18 million just three weeks ago. Burnett was viewed by many as in the same ballpark as Affeldt talent-wise, but it's possible that Burnett's offseason elbow surgery, which removed bone spurs, affected his value.

For the record, I'm surprised the Nationals didn't play more of a role in the Burnett negotiations if his price was as low as $8 million over two years. Not a ton of money, not a ton of guaranteed years, pretty good pitcher.

Burnett isn't the only left-handed reliever to reach a deal in the last hour or so; Randy Choate, who is more of a left-handed specialist, has agreed to a reported three-year, $7.5 million deal with the Cardinals.

How does all this affect the Nationals?

Well, it obviously takes two left-handed relievers off the market. Beyond that, with lefties flying off the market, talks involving J.P. Howell could start to heat up.

The Nationals are interested in Howell, who posted a 3.04 ERA over 50 1/3 innings with the Rays last season.

Meanwhile, a club source tells me that the Nats are "pretty confident" that they'll end up re-signing first baseman Adam LaRoche.

LaRoche's market has not developed as many expected, which could end up bringing him back to the Nationals for the two-year deal that they have on the table.

The source says the Nats expected the Red Sox to be one of their main competitors for LaRoche, but the Sox removed themselves from the LaRoche negotiations when they signed Mike Napoli on Monday.

The Mariners and Rangers are two other teams who could be in the mix for LaRoche.

If the Nats do re-sign LaRoche, they will look to deal Michael Morse for prospects to replenish their minor league system. The Mariners could be a team in play for Morse, who broke into the majors with Seattle.

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