That’s not a surprise, given that San Diego is one of a relatively few teams that have a fairly obvious need for a shortstop. And Desmond is, by consensus, the best player at that position in this year’s market, though he certainly carries a fair amount of risk after a tough 2015 season.
Desmond is freely available after declining a qualifying offer today from the Nationals, though that does mean that a signing team will need to part with a pick to add him. Of course, San Diego’s top pick (8th overall) is protected, and the team also now stands to add two compensatory picks if and when Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy land with new organizations.
Tonight’s trade of Craig Kimbrel makes a Padres connection to Desmond far more plausible, at least on paper. The ace closer would’ve cost the team $11MM this season, and shedding his salary (along with the $7.5MM that would have gone to the recently-dealt Joaquin Benoit) certainly opens the door to bigger free agent spending.