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Report: Nationals 'trying hard' for Dempster

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Report: Nationals 'trying hard' for Dempster

With the expected shutdown of ace Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have become a popular team among trade rumors involving MLB pitchers. Most linked to the Nationals has been Brewers' pitcher Zack Greinke, but now it has been reported the team is aggressively pursuing another National League right-hander.

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman says the Nationals are "trying hard" to get Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster and that they are among approximately four teams involved in talks.

nationals said trying hard on dempster. braves in, & tigers may be, too. 1 gm still thinks dodgers still favorite tho Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 20, 2012
Chicago has been dangling Dempster for quite some time as the 35-year-old is enjoying a career year. Dempster currently leads the majors with a 1.86 ERA and ranks sixth with a 1.02 WHIP.

Dempster may be a more viable option for the Nationals because of his age as the asking price should be nowhere close to what it would take to get Greinke or another top shelf starter like Cole Hamels. Dempster isn't a long-term solution by any means and though the Cubs are likely demanding prospects, it would be tough to justify sending any blue-chip young players for his services.

Dempster is in the last year of a four year contract and carries a salary of 14 million this season. He, like Greinke and Hamels, is scheduled to be a free agent after this year. It would likely be a rental situation for the Nats if they choose to trade for Dempster.

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Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.

If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017. 

Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season. 

Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015. 

According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.

Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work. 

With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017. 

Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster

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LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

Nationals star Bryce Harper has a bold fashion sense, that's for sure. Just take a look at that hair. But he a more romantic fashion risk for his own wedding with a custom suit jacket. 

He opted for a navy blue tuxedo with black piping. It was the lining that really stood out as special. 

If you look closely, you'll see photos of Harper and his wife, Kayla, decorating the lining of the jacket. 

There's also the date of wedding and script reading "Mr. and Mrs. Harper." 

He credited the makers of his tuxedo, Stitched, in the tweet. 

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals’ Bryce Harper ecstatic to see bride on wedding day