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Nationals, Wilmer Difo agree to one-year, $1 million contract

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The Nationals and infielder Wilmer Difo avoided arbitration on Sunday, agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2020 season, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports. Difo is in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

Difo, 27, posted a light .628 OPS across 144 trips to the plate during the regular season, but provided value with his versatility as he played second and third base as well as shortstop, where he spent a majority of his playing time. Difo will hope to reprise his role as a backup for the reigning world champion Nationals.

The deadline for teams to come to an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players is 8 PM ET on Monday.

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.