Sounds like Ian Desmond is in line for a contract extension

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Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was quoted by Amanda Comak in the Washington Times and, from the sounds of it, Ian Desmond is in line for a contract extension:

“We don’t discuss negotiations with players and that type of thing,” Rizzo said. “But we feel Ian is one of our leaders. He’s one of the guys that is our core players and he’s a guy we’d like to be with the Nationals for a long time.”

Desmond is under team control through 2015, but the Nats certainly have a nice core in place and Desmond is part of it, so if they can save a few bucks over the long haul by locking him up through arbitration and maybe a bit more now, it’d be a good move.

Probably complicated a lot by Elvis Andrus’ new extension.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.