Update: The New York Post reports that the Nats and Fister agreed to a one-year, $7.2 million deal.
The Nationals had offered Fister $5.5 million through the arbitration process and Fister had countered at $8.5 million. Fister, who went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 2013, made $4 million last season.
Fister was acquired by the Nats in a December trade with the Tigers that sent infielder Steve Lombardozzi and pitchers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray to Detroit. The 29-year-old right-hander is set to be the fourth starter in what appears to be a loaded Nationals rotation.
At NatsFest last weekend, Fister was asked about the arbitration process and whether he felt a deal was close with the Nats.
“We both want to settle,” Fister said. “It’s one of those things that nobody ever wants to go to arbitration, so we’re looking to see what we can do. At this point, we’ll see what kind of plays out.”
Going to arbitration can be an awkward process, but for could have been even more awkward for Fister and the Nats, given that this will be their first season together.
“Yeah, we don’t want to (go to arbitration),” Fister said. “You never want to start off (that way) or have that problem. So I’m sure there’s going to be something we’ll be fine with.”
The Nats have now agreed to terms with nine of their 10 arbitration-eligible players for the 2014 season. Tyler Clippard is the only player still left unsigned.
Clippard is seeking $6.35 million in 2014, while the Nationals have countered with an offer of $4.45 million.
Here are the deals that the nine signed arbitration-eligible players have agreed to thus far: Ross Ohlendorf signed for $1.25 million, Stephen Strasburg signed for $3.975 million, Ross Detwiler signed for $3 million, Jordan Zimmermann signed a two-year, $24 million deal, Ian Desmond signed a two-year, $17.5 million deal, Drew Storen signed for $3.45 million, Wilson Ramos signed for $2.095 million and Jerry Blevins signed for $1.675 million.
Update II: Former Nationals outfielder Corey Brown, who was traded to the Athletics earlier this offseason and then designated for assignment by Oakland last week, has signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, according to ESPNBoston.com.
The deal reportedly includes an invitation to big league spring training.
Brown spent three years in the Nationals’ organization after coming over from Oakland in the Josh Willingham trade in December of 2010. He got 40 at-bats with the Nats over the last three seasons and flashed potential at Triple-A, but became expendable after the Nats signed outfielder Nate McLouth earlier this winter.
Brown will now battle for a roster spot in Boston.