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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.