The Washington Nationals would like to hold on to Ian Desmond, but not at any price and not at shortstop, while he’s getting interest from the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres.
It seems the Padres are the closest team to signing him, although at the moment it’s all about maintaining a channel of communication open between him and the team. For the Astros, it’s more of thinking about it, not really needing him right now but it wouldn’t hurt to add him to the team. The Nationals offered Desmond a qualifying offer which he rejected, one-year deal worth $15.8 million. He made $11 million last season in Washington, and was hoping that despite his declining hitting numbers, he’ll be welcomed with open arms in the free agency market.
The problem for Desmond, who is a one-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger winner is his hitting wasn’t so special last season (only .233 with 19 home runs), as his batting stats were the lowest of his career, and especially his fielding. No player has committed more errors over the past two seasons than Desmond (51). This is what’s making teams think a lot about adding him to the roster, especially as a shortstop.
When the free agency process is over, Desmond will probably be playing in the outfield, second base or third base of some team, hoping to bounce back with his hitting. He has a career .264 batting average and .736 OPS. He has played 154 games in five of the last six seasons. He’s healthy, and there’s still plenty of baseball in him. The problem is for him is that his demands at the moment don’t really match the perception teams have of him.