Marlins avoid arbitration with Giancarlo Stanton, Steve Cishek, and Mike Dunn

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have avoided arbitration with outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and relievers Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn. Stanton, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, has agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million. The slugger, one of baseball’s premier power hitters, portends to become very wealthy in the coming years if he can stay healthy. He is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.

Following his first season as the team’s closer, Cishek and the Marlins agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.8 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Dunn, also a newbie to the process, will take home $1.4 million on a one-year deal.

With an additional $11.7 million on the books, the Marlins now have about $32 million committed to nine players. The rest of their roster will be comprised of players not yet eligible for arbitration and players signed to minor league and non-guaranteed deals. Based on their current trajectory, they will very likely open up 2014 with a payroll lower than last year’s $50.5 million.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.