Nationals and Doug Fister agree to deal to avoid arbitration

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The Nationals announced this morning that they have reached an agreement with Doug Fister to avoid arbitration. No word yet on the exact terms of the deal.

Fister, who was acquired from the Tigers in December, requested $8.5 million and was offered $5.75 million from the Nationals when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this month. While the Nationals agreed to multi-year deals with some of their other arbitration-eligible players, including Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, general manager Mike Rizzo said last week that he expected to reach a one-year deal with Fister.

Fister turns 30 on Tuesday and owns a 3.30 ERA over the past three seasons. He is under team control through 2015.

UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the two sides have agreed to a one-year, $7.2 million deal, which is $825,000 above the midpoint of the arbitration figures that were exchanged earlier this month. He can earn an additional $100,000 based on innings pitched.

The Orioles are “moving aggressively” to trade Manny Machado

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.

Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.