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Report: Nationals tried to sign Doug Fister long-term following trade

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

The Nats tried to sign Doug Fister long-term before he ever threw a pitch for them.
The Nats tried to sign Doug Fister long-term before he ever threw a pitch for them. (USATSI)

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According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, the Nationals tried to sign right-hander Doug Fister to a long-term contract extension after acquiring him in a trade with the Tigers over the winter. The two sides couldn't come to terms and eventually agreed to a one-year, $7.2 million deal for 2014.

Fister, 30, can not become a free agent until after the 2015 season, so there is no real urgency to get a deal worked out. The Nationals traded for Gio Gonzalez and signed him to a long-term contract during the 2011-12 offseason, so signing a pitcher before he ever throws a pitch in their uniform would not be an unprecedented move by Washington.

A lat strain has kept Fister out so far this year, but he will come off the disabled list to make his first start on Friday. He went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 208 2/3 innings for Detroit last year and has a career 44-50 record with a 3.53 ERA in parts of five seasons. Fister ranks 14th among all pitchers with 12.6 WAR since 2011.

Other pitchers who recently signed extensions two years prior to free agency include Matt Harrison (five years, $55 million) and John Danks (five years, $65 million). Chad Billingsley (three years, $35 million) took a shorter term contract. Fister is older now than those three were at the time of their deals, however.

Assuming the two sides rekindle talks this coming offseason, Fister's camp could use guys like Homer Bailey (six years, $105 million) and Jered Weaver (five years, $85 million) as comparisons. Both Bailey and Weaver signed their deals one year before free agency.

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