Here’s the latest from the D.C. camp…
- Ian Desmond’s former Nationals teammates are flabbergasted by the fact that the shortstop has yet to sign with a team, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. “I don’t think there is a draft pick out there who is better than Ian Desmond,” Bryce Harper said. “I don’t there is a draft pick out there who is a better guy or person in the clubhouse than him.” Harper and Max Scherzer both feel that the qualifying offer is largely behind Desmond’s lingering presence on the market, with Harper opining that the QO system is “something baseball definitely needs to change.” Scherzer thinks the qualifying offer “literally has to be” the biggest and maybe only factor why Desmond is still available. “There’s no other reason why a team would not want to sign a shortstop like that. ….You could see the power. You could see the speed. You just don’t find that out of a shortstop,” Scherzer said.
- Oliver Perez’s previous stint with the Nationals consisted of 16 Double-A games in 2011, but the southpaw tells MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman that this stint helped revive his career. Minor league pitching coordinator Spin Williams encouraged Perez to become a full-time reliever in order to pave a quicker road back to the majors, and Perez has taken that advice to the bank. In four seasons since shifting to the bullpen, Perez has become a quality lefty specialist and is now back in Washington on a much more lucrative contract.
- Ryan Zimmerman spoke to reporters (including Zuckerman) for the first time since his name was cited in the controversial Al Jazeera documentary that alleged Zimmerman, Ryan Howard, Peyton Manning and several other notable athletes were using PEDs. Zimmerman firmly denied any allegations made in the documentary and noted that he and Howard were so eager to clear their names that they filed a defamation lawsuit against Al Jazeera, despite the fact that such a suit could lead to more public scrutiny. “It’s one of those things where privacy is really not privacy anymore for me,” Zimmerman said. “It’s unfortunate that I have to do that, but that’s the steps I’m willing to take to show people that I have nothing to hide.”