Nationals wanted to sign Doug Fister to a contract extension

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Doug Fister is finally scheduled to make his Nationals debut Friday night after spending the first six weeks of the season on the disabled list, making the offseason trade to get him from the Tigers look a little less brilliant than most people (including me) opined at the time.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post also has an interesting new tidbit about the deal, reporting that the Nationals tried to sign Fister to a long-term contract extension right after trading for him.

Washington did a similar thing after acquiring Gio Gonzalez from the A’s in 2011, but Kilgore says the talks with Fister never progressed and instead the two sides avoided arbitration with a one-year, $7.2 million deal. Fister is under team control again in 2015 via arbitration and can then become a free agent at age 32, so considering the offseason contracts guys like Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, and Ubaldo Jimenez received it’s easy to see him asking the Nationals for more than $50 million in any extension talks.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.