Friday night in Oakland, Doug Fister will throw the first pitch of his Nationals career. If the Nationals had their preference, it would be the start of a relationship that lasts years into the future.

After they acquired Fister this winter from the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals approached Fister with the hope of signing him to a long-term contract extension, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.

The talks never gained traction, and Fister ultimately signed a one-year, $7.2 million contract to avoid arbitration. The Nationals control Fister’s contractual rights through 2015, when he will again be eligible for arbitration.

Fister declined comment on the talks.

In five seasons with the Seattle Mariners and Tigers, Fister has gone 44-50 with a 3.53 ERA. Despite his standing as the Nationals’ No. 4 starter, he has become one of the most underrated in baseball. Over the previous three seasons, Fister has accumulated 13.3 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs.com, which ranks eighth in the majors, right between David Price and Cole Hamels.

Fister has also been excellent in the playoffs. In eight career playoff appearances, seven of which have been starts, Fister has gone 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA.

Under General Manager Mike Rizzo, the Nationals have previously employed the strategy of trading for a starter and signing him to an extension before throwing his first pitch in a new uniform.