Report: Nationals Tried to Extend Doug Fister During Offseason


Mar 2, 2014; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) pitches in the first inning as the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 10-3 in a spring training exhibition game at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Headlines were made by Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo during the offseason when he acquired starting pitcher Doug Fister from the Detroit Tigers for Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray and Ian Krol, but Rizzo attempted to make even more headlines by locking Fister up to an extension, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

The contract talks never gained much steam, however, and broke down soon after starting. Fister refused to comment on the situation.

While Rizzo was unable to lock his new starter up long-term, he did come to terms on a one-year, $7.2 million contract with Fister, therefore avoiding arbitration. He will again be eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season.

Rizzo did something similar when he acquired Gio Gonzalez from the Oakland Athletics. He acquired Gonzalez and then locked him up to a five-year, $42 million extension shortly thereafter.

Locking up starting pitching long-term is a great strategy for Rizzo. Stephen Strasburg and Gonzalez will be in the rotation through 2016. Fister and Jordan Zimmermann are in line for extensions as well, meaning this core could at least be together for the next two seasons. That’s scary for National League East opponents.

Manager Matt Williams had this to say regarding Fister, via Kilgore: “It’s comforting to have him. He knows how to pitch. He’s got a proven track record. Loads of experience.”

Fister will make his first start of the year on Friday, May 9.