9:27am: FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Desmond won’t be returning to the Rangers, either.
9:17am: Free agent outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond has narrowed his focus to one team, and his representatives are “in the process of finalizing his deal today,” reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hears the same (Twitter link), adding that the Cardinals have been been discussing Desmond. However, Goold isn’t sure if St. Louis is the team on which Desmond is focused. Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post also tweets that Desmond is likely to sign today, but he won’t be returning to the Nationals.
[Related: Ian Desmond’s Free Agent Profile]
Desmond, 30, has been connected to the Rangers, Cardinals, Orioles and Nationals over the course of his second trip through free agency, though many teams are likely to be interested in him after he proved a capable outfielder and hit .285/.335/.446 with 22 homers and 21 steals in a rebound campaign with the Rangers.
That production at the plate has led to a notable shift in the demand for Desmond when compared to his market an offseason ago, when he remained available into February and signed a one-year deal with the Rangers. Speculatively speaking, in addition to the above-listed teams, Desmond would be a strong fit for the Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners, Indians and Phillies.