Doug Fister, Nationals avoid arbitration hearing

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Fister is entering his first year of pitching in the National League, where he has been phenomenal in inter-league play.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister agreed to a new contract with the team Saturday morning, avoiding an arbitration hearing, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Fister will make $7.2 million in 2014, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Fister had been asking for $8.5 million while the Nationals filed at $5.75 million, with a midpoint of $7.125 million.

Fister, 29, signed a four-year deal with the Tigers last year to avoid arbitration. He will still have one more season of arbitration-eligibility remaining before he becomes a free agent following the conclusion of the 2015 season. The Nationals acquired him from Detroit earlier in the offsesason for Robbie Ray, Ian Krol and Steve Lombardozzi. Fister is expected to help form one of baseball's best rotations alongside Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.

Last year, Fister had a nice season with the Tigers. He reached 200 innings for the second time in his career with a 3.67 ERA. However, a much higher than normal batting average on balls in play (.332 in 2013 vs. .298 for his career) led to an increased numbers of hits. Though Fister walked fewer than two batters per nine innings, he still finished with a career-high 1.31 WHIP.

Fister has spent his entire career in the American League, beginning with the Mariners before a mid-season trade in 2011 sent him to Detroit. In 12 inter-league games against NL opponents he has been nothing short of spectacular with a 2.08 ERA while holding batters to just a 554 OPS.

With Fister signing, the Nationals' lone unsigned arbitration-eligible player is reliever Tyler Clippard. Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Jerry Blevins, Drew Storen, Ross Detwiler, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and Ross Ohlendorf all agreed to new contracts earlier in the offseason.

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