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Nats, Desmond avoid arbitration with $3.8M deal

Nats, Desmond avoid arbitration with $3.8M deal

WASHINGTON (AP) Shortstop Ian Desmond got a raise of more than $3 million on Friday, when the Washington Nationals announced they agreed to contracts with six of their seven arbitration-eligible players.

Desmond, who made $512,500 last season and was selected to the NL All-Star team, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.8 million, one-year deal.

He's coming off a breakout year, when he batted .292 with 25 homers, 33 doubles, 73 RBIs and 21 stolen bases, and cut his errors from 23 to 15. He also hit .368 in his postseason debut for the NL East champions.

Other players agreeing were left-handed starting pitcher Ross Detweiler, right-handed relievers Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen, and outfielder Roger Bernadina. The Nationals also gave a $2.5 million, one-year contract with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on Thursday.

The agreements left right-handed starter Jordan Zimmermann as Washington's last remaining player whose case could go to a hearing in front of a three-arbitrator panel in Phoenix next month. The sides exchanged arbitration figures but they also might reach an agreement before any hearing.

Zimmermann asked for $5.8 million, while the Nationals submitted $4.6 million. He made $2.3 million last season, when he went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA last season, making 32 starts and pitching 195 2-3 innings.

Detweiler agreed to a $2,337,500, one-year deal, a raise from $485,000 last season, when he went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 27 starts and six relief appearances.

Clippard also got a substantial raise, moving to $4 million next season after making $1,675,000 in 2012. After a series of injuries to other relievers, he shifted from a setup role to closer and had 32 saves in 37 chances, along with a 2-6 record, 3.72 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 72 2-3 innings.

Stammen agreed to a $2,225,000, two-year contract after going 6-1 with one save, a 2.34 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 88 1-3 innings across 59 relief appearances in 2012. Out of 81 players who agreed to terms with major league teams Friday, Stammen was one of only two who got a multiyear contract; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole was the other ($2.5 million, two years).

Stammen will make $875,000 this year and $1.35 million in 2014.

Bernadina agreed to a one-year deal worth $1,212,500, after earning $493,000 last season as a reserve outfielder. He hit .291 with five homers, 25 RBIs and 15 steals in 227 at-bats.

All told, the six players with new contracts are guaranteed $14,725,000 in 2013 , an increase from $10.5 million for those players last year.

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

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Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

The Nationals announced their first move toward rebuilding their bullpen for the 2020 season Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a major-league deal.

Finnegan, 28, became a free agent for the first time this winter after seven seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft out of Texas State, originally developing him as a starter until converting him into a reliever in 2016.

Oakland granted Finnegan an invite to Spring Training ahead of last season, but he never made his way onto the team’s 40-man roster. His breakout season was in 2019, when the organization asked him to lower his arm slot to generate more movement on his pitches.

Finnegan posted a 2.66 ERA with 14 saves over 42 appearances for AA-Midland and AAA-Las Vegas last year. His fastball has touched triple digits in the past but sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. His newfound success has also seen him rack up more strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 that jumped from 9.7 in 2018 to 12.8 in 2019.

Prior to signing with Washington, Finnegan joined the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He has a 2.31 ERA in 14 appearances so far this winter.

The Nationals’ 40-man roster now sits at 30 with the addition of Finnegan following non-tenders of Javy Guerra and Koda Glover. It will move up to 32 once the signings of Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick are made official. The move comes less than 12 hours before the MLB Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin in San Diego.

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The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

Only one player in the major leagues threw a pitch while over the age of 40 last season. Fernando Rodney, who in fact is 42 and coming off his first ever World Series title, has appeared in at least 50 games each of the last eight years and 10 of the last 11.

For a player who’s three years older than the second-oldest active pitcher, taking the offseason off wouldn’t just be expected—it’d probably be recommended. But Rodney is taking no such break, reportedly signing up for the Dominican Winter League this offseason.

Leones del Escogido plays in his hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This will actually be the fifth time Rodney will suit up for the team, most recently doing so last winter.

Rodney is a free agent after being picked up by the Nationals midseason. He’s played 17 years in the majors and ranks 17th all-time in saves with 327.

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