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Justin Bour wins arbitration case against Marlins

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Some positive news from the hot stove this evening: First baseman Justin Bour won his arbitration case against the Marlins on Friday, per an announcement from his agent, Marc J. Kligman. He’ll stand to make $3.4 million in 2018, just above the $3 million the Marlins countered with in January.

Bour, 29, is coming off of his most productive season to date, despite losing 55 days to the disabled list with an ankle injury and right oblique strain last year. He completed his fourth major league campaign with the Marlins in 2017, batting a cool .289/.366/.536 with 25 home runs and 2.2 fWAR in 429 plate appearances. This was his first offseason of arbitration eligibility.

Things didn’t go quite so smoothly for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, meanwhile, who lost his arbitration case on Friday and will receive $2.9 million in 2018 instead of the $3.5 million he requested. Realmuto had already voiced his displeasure with the Marlins’ offseason moves and reportedly requested a trade, though the club has given no clear indication that they’re close to moving him.

With Bour and Realmuto’s cases settled, the Marlins will tackle one more arbitration hearing when they meet with right-hander Dan Straily next week. Straily filed for $3.55 million back in January and was met with a counteroffer of $3.37 million. Robert Murray of FanRag Sports points out that the 2017-18 offseason has seen an unusually high number of arbitration hearings compared to past years, which is hardly surprising given the ongoing tensions between players and teams this winter.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.