Nationals Notes: Desmond, Balfour, Gonzalez

Ian Desmond reportedly turned down a seven-year contract offer from the Nationals that was worth at least $85.5MM and possibly topped the $90MM threshold, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post reported during a reader chat.  Rumors about the Nats extending Desmond have swirled for over a year, and while the two sides agreed to a two-year, $17.5MM extension in January that covered both of his remaining arbitration years, Desmond is still eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.  While Desmond didn't specifically comment on Boswell's report, the shortstop told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that "the Nationals and I had been in conversation prior to the two-year deal, but things didn't work out. I don't know how this got out. It's not something that came from my side. We don't operate like that." 

Here's some more from Desmond and some other items from Washington…

  • Though a long-term deal hasn't been reached, Desmond "feel[s] real strongly about my future with the Nationals. I would like to play here for the rest of my career."
  • Desmond admitted he was "a little bit hesitant" to sign his two-year extension, "but in turn, I have a wife and kids. Guaranteed money is guaranteed money. I think it was a good, fair deal for both sides. I took a deal that benefited my family and it didn't affect future infielders in the arbitration process. To have the security was something I couldn't pass up."
  • Also from Boswell's chat, he notes that the Nationals offered Grant Balfour a two-year, $12MM deal but the reliever took a similar deal from the Rays instead because Washington's offer contained mostly deferred money.  Boswell admits this could be "one of those many after-the-fact retellings of history," but believes the rumor to be true.  The Nats were known to be interested in Balfour and were trying to free up 2014 payroll space to sign him and make further moves, to the point that Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann's two-year extensions were both backloaded to 2015.
  • Gio Gonzalez's contract has become a major bargain for the Nationals, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes.  Gonzalez has three years and a guaranteed $31.5MM remaining on his original five-year pact, and the Nationals have $12MM club options on the southpaw for both 2017 and 2018.


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35 Comments on "Nationals Notes: Desmond, Balfour, Gonzalez"


Charles Grody
1 year 5 months ago

I really hope he stays a Nat for his career. He is a great player and a class act.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 5 months ago

Got a ball from Desmond at a Pirates game two years ago after they were done warming up. Class act.

Drazthegr8
1 year 5 months ago

He turned it down b/c he is worth at least 7yrs/$100MM. Desmond is probably the most unreplaceable guy on the Nats right now and is a leader in the clubhouse.

alphabet_soup5
1 year 5 months ago

Harper and Strasburg aren’t more irreplaceable than Desmond?

Drazthegr8
1 year 5 months ago

Right now, Desmond is more valuable IMO. Stras is great, but is one of 4 very good pitchers and isn’t noticeably better than them – plus Roark and Jordan are likely to start the year out of the rotation and they are solid (albeit not as good) replacements. Harper is a corner outfielder who was hurt last year – he should be great this year, but we can find another OF by trade or elsewhere if necessary. What top SS are available to replace Desmond? If he went out, we’d be stuck with Espinosa or perhaps Walters and would have to pick up a guy like Stephen Drew – ugh. I hope they sign him soon.

David
1 year 5 months ago

That’s just silly.

Drazthegr8
1 year 5 months ago

Not saying he’s the best player, just very good and most irreplaceable.

Tom
1 year 5 months ago

I actually agree with this.

SS is a very weak position league-wide, they dont have much to replace Desmond.

Interesting he rejected that, guess he’s banking on himself proving he’s worth more.

NYBravosFan10
1 year 5 months ago

Strasburg is on the irreplaceable side but we’re not sure on Harper because we’re not sure on what type of player he’s going to turn into. The kid has some serious god-given talent and exploits it very well but he needs to calm down. The amount of effort he puts into everything is of course admirable but it’s going to get him severely injured some day or he’s going to develop bad habits. However, will being a safer player still allow him to use all of his skills? Maybe he’s going to end up being a “sprinter” who uses every bit of energy he’s got at all times during competition rather than a “marathon runner” who paces himself while still pushing hard enough for the victory. You can’t sprint a marathon because you’ll get tired very quickly and end up failing miserably while someone who was pacing themself eventually sneaks past you. Maybe the only way he’ll be effective is if he goes all out all the time with no boundaries much like he does now. Personally, I hope that he’ll find some way of balancing it all out and turn into one of the all-time greats.

Natsfan89
1 year 5 months ago

It’s hard for me as a Nats fan to decide how hard I want Harper to go. I mean obviously his hustle is great, and he has the tools to make up for any bad reads. But at the same time the Nats are soooo much better when he’s in the lineup, and last year before he got banged up (April) he was mashing.

I’m hoping with this being his third year with significant time in the bigs he finds a comfortable medium. I love the guy for being willing to sell out his body, but we really need his body.

I Want My Bird
1 year 5 months ago

The Nats try to acquire multiple closers and the Rockies going with Hawkins/Brothers. Just saying.

Natsfan89
1 year 5 months ago

You’re saying something, but I’m not entirely sure what it is…

I Want My Bird
1 year 5 months ago

Difference in team expectations. Could mention Axford for CLE and Crain for HOU as well. Question, meet mark.

bryanr130
1 year 5 months ago

Brothers could probably close for quite a few teams. He was 19-21 in saves last year. His control needs a little work, but I imagine the only reason he hasn’t been handed the closer role is to try keeping his arbitration down.

Seamaholic
1 year 5 months ago

This is a little mystifying, but I’m gonna assume it’s some sort of comparison of the level of the Nats versus the Rockies … but like most, umm, analysts on the web, he obviously hasn’t seen the player or team he’s dissing actually play: Brothers is one of the best power arms in baseball.

Metsfan93
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t even know how I’d value Desmond. Assuming the first two years went for 17 MM like they did in the extension, two be 7/90, the remaining years would go for 5/73, a distinct bargain. While a pitcher, Homer Bailey just sold away five free agent years for 96 MM total, including a buyout of an option. Reyes went for 6/106, an AAV around 18 MM. If he sold 5 FA years for 17 apiece, then this, that’d be 7/102, which might’ve gotten it done. He could definitely get 5/85 if his production doesn’t wane much. He’s a legit 5-win player right now, and has been each of the last two years. Alongside Simmons, Hanley, Tulo, and Reyes, I feel he’s a top-5 SS in MLB.

Eugene in Oregon
1 year 5 months ago

What’s unsaid in the Grant Balfour note is that the Rays hired him to be their closer — if I’m not mistaken — while the Nats could only offer a set-up role for the first year of the deal.

DMiles5149
1 year 5 months ago

Wow.. Gio might have the most team friendly contract in the entire league. Basically no more than $12 million per year for the next 5 years? The way the MLB contracts are today that’s the very definition of a bargain. Especially for a very good pitcher like himself.

Tom
1 year 5 months ago

Matt Moore/Bumgarner/Sale are close.

But yes, its pretty good.

FTNS
1 year 5 months ago

Looks like Desmond will be wearing pinstripes in 3 years

Andy225
1 year 5 months ago

That is NOT Desmond’s Style

FTNS
1 year 5 months ago

It will be when he sees that $$$

Andy225
1 year 5 months ago

There will be plenty of other teams after him. I would not bet against a long term agreement with the Nats.

FTNS
1 year 5 months ago

The fact that he turned down a 7 year 85-90 million dollar contract from the Nats shows just how loyal he is to the franchise. He’ll definitely be going to whoever throws out the most cash, and with Jeter retiring after this season, the Yanks will be pretty desperate for a SS when Desmond’s contract ends.

David
1 year 5 months ago

If they’re desperate, why would they wait 3 years? But logic, who needs it.

FTNS
1 year 5 months ago

He’ll be a free agent in two years. (2016) The Yankees will only need to improvise for one season. But basic math, who needs it?

FTNS
1 year 5 months ago

Not that Desmond will ever amount to anything close to a Jeter type of player…

Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Not that Desmond will ever amount to anything close to a Jeter type of player.

Andy225
1 year 5 months ago

The issue may be money for Desi, but the long term of 7 years is most likely the hesitation for the Nats. He will come to terms on a long term agreement or be traded by the trade deadline.

Andy225
1 year 5 months ago

There will be plenty of other teams after him. I would not bet against a long term agreement with the Nats.

letsgogiants
1 year 5 months ago

If that’s not his style, then why did he turn down a seven year deal at 85-90 million? That’s pretty good money for a guy who has only posted a .749 OPS and is 28.

Andy225
1 year 5 months ago

Unfortunately there are intermediaries called agents.Note his comment about the 2 year deal does not effect future infielders.

Andy225
1 year 5 months ago

That is NOT Desmond’s Style

Tom
1 year 5 months ago

I wont go that far but its gonna cost near 16-20 mil per year to keep him if he turned this down.

And he’ll be entering his 30’s.

WolandJR
1 year 3 months ago

Desi has a track record of success, but there are a lot of somewhat interesting warning signs. He has always been a low OBP/high strike out guy and he has always been prone to errors. While he brings very good power at the SS position and amazing leadership, do you really want to be paying $18m/year for a guy who’s power will decline well into his 30s?

I am as big a Desmond fan as there is, considering the depth the Nats have at middle infield, it might not be a terrible hit to trade Desmond this offseason to restock the farm a bit.