3:23pm: Rangers team officials are “far from optimistic” a deal can be completed with Desmond, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com tweets.
2:40pm: Talks between free agent center fielder Ian Desmond and the Rangers have “intensified” lately, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Desmond is likely to receive a four-year deal, Morosi adds.
Desmond rejected the Rangers’ qualifying offer last month (as was expected), but it appears he’s ready to listen to other proposals to return to the Rangers, perhaps for a longer term. Desmond hit well for the Rangers in 2016, batting .285/.335/.446 while transitioning fairly seamlessly from shortstop to the outfield. He also impressed the team on a personal level, with GM Jon Daniels saying in October that he appreciated Desmond’s behavior “as a person and [with] the consistency he brought from that standpoint.”
Desmond therefore is in a much stronger position this offseason than he was last year, when he settled for a mere $8MM guarantee after batting .233/.290/.384 in his last year in Washington. MLBTR has predicted that Desmond will receive four years and $60MM on his next contract.
The Rangers are in need of a center fielder after losing both Desmond and Carlos Gomez to free agency. They’ll have to set themselves apart from what might be a large group of suitors to get Desmond back, though, as he’s already reportedly attracted interest from the Nationals, Orioles and Blue Jays.