Nationals, Ian Desmond avoid arbitration with two-year deal

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Shortly after signing Jordan Zimmermann to a two-year contract the Nationals have done the same with shortstop Ian Desmond, avoiding arbitration.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Desmond will get $17.5 million for his final two seasons of arbitration eligibility, and can then become a free agent following the 2015 season.

Desmond has established himself as one of the best all-around shortstops in baseball, posting back-to-back 20/20 seasons while hitting a combined .286 with an .812 OPS in 288 games over the past two years.

Félix Hernández to rejoin Mariners’ rotation for final start of 2018

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Mariners starter Félix Hernández will come off of the disabled list to make his final start of 2018 on Wednesday against the Athletics, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Hernández has been on the disabled list since September 8 with a right hamstring strain.

Hernández, 32, has endured the worst season of his 14-year career. He’s 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA and a 121/57 K/BB ratio over 151 2/3 innings. Hernández wants the opportunity to finish 2018 on a good note. He said, “I feel good. No problems. It’s 100 percent. I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn’t a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest.”

Hernández is under contract for one more year at $27 million. He has been the face of the franchise for the last decade, but if he doesn’t show he’s capable of beating major league hitters by the end of spring training next year, the Mariners may not be able to afford to give him a spot in the starting rotation. Despite a second-half slide, the Mariners were competitive in the AL West this year, entering the All-Star break 58-39, five games out of first place. With some roster fine-tuning, the Mariners could give the Astros and Athletics a run for their money. Hernández’s involvement with that effort remains to be seen.