The Nationals have not had “significant” extension negotiations with shortstop Ian Desmond this offseason, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports. Though GM Mike Rizzo reportedly met with agent Doug Rogalski at the Winter Meetings, a source tells Ladson that no true negotiations occurred at that time, and that none have taken place since.
Recent reports have suggested that the Nationals have engaged in several trade scenarios regarding Desmond. Most recently, the team was said to have kicked around a three-team scenario that would have sent Desmond to the division-rival Mets, though ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweeted today that New York’s discussions regarding Desmond were “only cursory.”
The 29-year-old has emerged as one of the game’s best shortstops over the past three seasons, a rare 20-home-run hitter at the position who plays solid defense. (Though his offensive production has ticked down successively in each year.) Desmond is also widely cited as a team leader and outstanding clubhouse presence, and is the franchise’s longest-tenured player.
All said, expectations have been that an extension would at least be explored, with the team having already reportedly offered him a deal in excess of $100MM last offseason and Desmond expressing interest in staying put. But the Nats have added a long-term replacement in Trea Turner via trade, which at least reduces some of the future need. And it could well be that Rizzo does not feel a market-value deal would be a wise investment at this point.
Of course, late-spring (or later) extensions are fairly frequent occurrences, and it is far too soon to say that a new deal is not a reasonable possibility.