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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

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Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tyler Clippard (36) throws during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, in Washington. The Nationals won 8-5. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Nats, Tyler Clippard avoid arbitration

The Nationals agreed to terms with relief pitcher Tyler Clippard on Tuesday and avoided arbitration. Clippard, 28, made $4 million in 2013. When filing for arbitration his representatives asked for $6.35 million, the Nats countered with $4.45 million and the two sides settled on $5.875 million for one year.

Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) as the Washington Nationals play the Atlanta Braves during spring training at Champion Stadium, Kissimmee, Fla., Tuesday, February 26, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Nats avoid arbitration with Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann

The Nationals had two potential long-term contract extension candidates entering the offseason. On Friday, they avoided arbitration with both right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond for the next two seasons. But, for now at least, that’s as far as it goes. Zimmermann signed a two-year deal worth $24 million. Desmond gets a two-year deal worth $17. 5 million. Extensions are still possible for both players, if less likely. Zimmermann and Desmond would be free agents after the 2015 season.

Jordan Zimmermann delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night. The Washington Nationals won the game 5-2. (Associated Press photo)

Nats avoid arbitration with pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen

The Nationals have a better idea of their salary structure for the 2014 season now after avoiding arbitration with right-handed pitchers Jordan Zimmerann and Drew Storen. Zimmermann actually gets a two-year deal worth $24 million, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He will make $7.5 million in 2014 and $16.5 in 2015.

Harrisburg Senators' Bryce Harper signs autographs before a baseball game against the Erie SeaWolves, Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at Metro Bank Park, in Harrisburg, Pa. Harper's impressive stats earned the teenager a Fourth of July promotion Monday, moving on to Double-A as part of the Washington Nationals' measured approach with last year's No. 1 overall draft pick. (AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Chris Knight)

Nats extend affiliate agreement with Double-A Harrisburg

The Nationals will have stability at the upper levels of their minor league system in the coming years. One month after agreeing to a four-year player development contract extension with Triple-A Syracuse, Washington did the same with Harrisburg, its Double-A affiliate, on Wednesday. That takes the Nats through the 2018 season with both.

**FILE** Spain catcher Adrian Nieto, left, of the Washington Nationals, juggles with the resin bag as he talks to Eric Gonzalez in the first inning of a World Baseball Classic qualifier baseball game against Israel in Jupiter, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

MLB Winter Meetings: Nats lose catching prospect Nieto in Rule 5 Draft

The Nationals concluded a relatively quiet Winter Meetings by losing a former high draft pick in the Rule 5 draft. Catcher Adrian Nieto was the team’s fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. After fits and starts to his pro career, Nieto had finally begun to show the promise that made him such a coveted pick. But he still wasn’t ready to be added to the Nats’ 40-man roster.

Bryce Harper, seen here grabbing his left knee, received PRP and cortisone injections in the knee on Monday. He will be reevaluated in one week. (Associated Press photo).

MLB Winter Meetings: Strasburg, Harper, LaRoche all recovering from surgery

Three key Nationals players had surgery after the season, but each should be ready for spring training. Stephen Strasburg had bone chips removed from his right elbow, first baseman Adam LaRoche had surgery on his left elbow and outfielder Bryce Harper had a procedure on the bursa sac in his right knee. Nothing has changed in the prognosis for any of the three

Washington Nationals right-hander Drew Storen was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday night. (Associated Press photo)

MLB Winter Meetings: Nats GM Rizzo denies heavy trade talk for Storen, Clippard

There's been lots of chatter over the first two days of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings that the Nationals are talking to teams about potential deals for relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Clippard has often been mentioned in deals over the last 18 months, though nothing's ever appeared imminent. Storen less so, though after a tough 2013 season – following his playoff meltdown against the St. Louis Cardinals the previous fall – some teams may sense a buy-low opportunity.

Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos batted .267 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI during his rookie season. (Associated Press)

MLB Winter Meetings: The Nats' plan if Wilson Ramos can't stay healthy

The Nationals are happy with their catching situation at this point in the offseason. Starter Wilson Ramos is healthy again after a left hamstring injury plagued him throughout the 2013 season. And general manager Mike Rizzo says that Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon are fine competing for the backup role. But if Ramos gets hurt again and misses a decent chunk of time? Then it's time to pick up the phone as they did two summers ago when acquiring Kurt Suzuki for the final two months of that season.

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister is congratulated by C Gerald Laird after being replaced during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants in San Francisco on Oct. 25, 2012. (Associated Press)

New Nats starter Doug Fister: "You're a world of mixed emotions"

The rumors swirled, one high profile teammate was traded and Doug Fister was just waiting for the phone to ring. It is an offseason of change in Detroit, where the Tigers lost manager Jim Leyland to retirement, sent first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas and were intent on trading from their deep starting rotation to fill other holes on the roster and clear space in the budget for other options.