Rizzo confirms Haren deal in place, plus LaRoche update (with video)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed the team has a deal in place with free agent starter Dan Haren, but he wasn’t willing to delve into too many details on the arrangement with the veteran starter just yet.

Rizzo and the Nats will wait on Haren to complete a physical before discussing his health and how he could impact the team.

Haren will fly to D.C. tomorrow and if everything goes well, Rizzo said they should have everything wrapped up with the 33-year-old righty by Thursday evening.

Assuming Haren passes his physical, the Nationals’ rotation will be intact. They don’t plan to be in the mix for any other big-name starters. Rizzo also said that the Nats are comfortable having Christian Garcia, Zach Duke and Ryan Perry as options beyond their starting five. Those are the guys that could step in and get a spot-start, if needed.

The Nats will keep their ears open for more sixth-starter types, but Rizzo says that’s “something that would be more of a luxury item right now.”

Haren was really the biggest news on a quiet day at the Winter Meetings. (Scratch that - the Red Sox settled on an agreement with center fielder Shane Victorino, literally as I was writing this. That would now take top billing for the day.

The Nats would love to be able to make an announcement that they’ve reached a deal with first baseman Adam LaRoche, but they’re still waiting to see how things progress on that topic.

Rizzo has met face-to-face with LaRoche’s agent Mike Milchin at the meetings, and touched base with him again last night. The Nationals and LaRoche both have their respective offers on the table, and they’re still in a waiting game at this point.

“I still feel optimistic that we could get him signed,” Rizzo said of LaRoche. “He wants to be here and we want him here. So, I’m optimistic.”

The Nationals have said they aren’t willing to go beyond a two-year deal for LaRoche, while LaRoche is looking for three guaranteed years. There had been some speculation that the two sides could find some kind of compromise if the Nats offered two years plus an option for a third, but Rizzo said he won’t go there.

“I think our deal is where it’s at, and I think we’re going to stay there,” Rizzo said. “We’ve made it clear that a two-year deal for Adam LaRoche works for us. We’ve been pretty clear about that.”

In other news, Nats manager Davey Johnson said today that he would like to have veteran infielder Mark DeRosa back for next season, and while Rizzo says he’s always looking to improve the team, DeRosa doesn’t seem like he’s in the Nats’ plans. Rizzo said he hasn’t had any contact with DeRosa’s agent to this point.

“We have a pretty good bench, as is,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo said that he’s talking to several left-handed relievers, but didn’t have anything new to report on that front.

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