Shortly after signing Jordan Zimmermann to a two-year contract the Nationals have done the same with shortstop Ian Desmond, avoiding arbitration.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Desmond will get $17.5 million for his final two seasons of arbitration eligibility, and can then become a free agent following the 2015 season.
Desmond has established himself as one of the best all-around shortstops in baseball, posting back-to-back 20/20 seasons while hitting a combined .286 with an .812 OPS in 288 games over the past two years.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.