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The Detroit Tigers traded right-hander Doug Fister (above) to the Washington Nationals for three players on Monday night. (AP photo)

Tigers trade away Fister to Nationals

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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers traded right-hander Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for three players Monday night, opening a spot in their rotation and perhaps saving some money to keep Max Scherzer beyond next season.

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Detroit received infielder Steve Lombardozzi, minor league lefty Robbie Ray and reliever Ian Krol for Fister, a 14-game winner for the AL Central champions.

“We are excited to be adding three solid players to the organization,” Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “Robbie is a premium pitching prospect, Ian adds a quality left-handed young arm for the bullpen and Steve provides our ballclub with versatility in several roles as a switch-hitting utility man.

“This affords us the opportunity to move the left-handed arm of Drew Smyly into the starting rotation where we are confident he will do well,” the statement said.

It also might help the franchise afford to give Scherzer, the AL Cy Young Award winner, a new contract before he becomes a free agent following the 2014 season.

Detroit has had a busy offseason so far.

The Tigers traded first baseman Prince Fielder and his $214 million contract two weeks ago to the Texas Rangers in part to potentially save more than $75 million, giving them even more financial flexibility. They also allowed shortstop Jhonny Peralta to leave as a free agent for St. Louis.

Fister is going from one stacked rotation to another. He will likely replace Dan Haren in the rotation and join Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.

The 29-year-old Fister was 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA last season and was 32-20 in two-plus seasons in Detroit, which acquired him in a trade from the Seattle Mariners. He struck out an American League-record nine batters in a row against the Kansas City Royals late in the 2012 season.

The 6-foot-8 Fister fared well in the postseason, even when he was hit in the head by a line drive. He shook off the scary moment in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series against San Francisco and took a shutout bid into the seventh inning in what ended up being a 2-0 loss to the Giants. Over three postseasons with the Tigers, he had a 2.98 ERA in seven starts and a relief appearance.

“We would like to thank Doug for everything he has done for the Tigers organization,” Dombrowski said. “He is an exceptional player and individual and we wish him all the best going forward.”

AP Source: A’s closing in on deal for lefty Kazmir

OAKLAND, Calif. — Free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir agreed to terms on a $22 million, two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics on Monday, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.

The deal is pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t finalized the deal or formally announced interest in Kazmir.

Also Monday, the A’s reached agreement on a one-year contract with right-hander Fernando Rodriguez. He was one of nine arbitration eligible players — and all were tendered contracts for the 2014 season, including first baseman Daric Barton. Barton is the team’s longest-tenured player and will provide infield depth.

The 29-year-old Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts and 158 innings last season for the Cleveland Indians. It marked his return to the big leagues for the first time since making one poor outing for the Angels in 2011, which followed a 9-15 performance in 2010 for Los Angeles.

With the pending acquisition of Kazmir, the A’s have filled a rotation spot with a veteran starter as they had hoped to do. That means the two-time defending AL West champions won’t necessarily continue to pursue a new deal for 40-year-old 18-game winner Bartolo Colon.

Kazmir will join a rotation featuring Sonny Gray and A.J. Griffin.

General manager Billy Beane said after the season he was hopeful of re-signing Colon after he received a $3 million, one-year contract and bounced back from 2012, when his season ended in August because of a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test.

Rodriguez was acquired in a trade with Houston last February that also brought Jed Lowrie to the A’s in exchange for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock and Max Stassi. Rodriguez missed the season after undergoing right elbow reconstruction surgery March 27.

He is 4-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 119 career relief appearances with the Los Angeles Angels and Astros.

The other arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts by Monday’s deadline were outfielders Josh Reddick and Seth Smith, infielders Brandon Moss and Jed Lowrie, relief pitchers Jerry Blevins and Jesse Chavez, and catcher John Jaso.

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