No progress on extension between Nationals, Ian Desmond

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Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that there has been no progress made on a contract extension between the Nationals and shortstop Ian Desmond. The two sides haven’t discussed an extension lately, potentially a sign that the 2015 season could be Desmond’s last in Washington. Desmond rebuffed a seven-year, $107 million offer from the club last winter.

Desmond, 29, has been baseball’s best shortstop since the start of the 2012 season, according to FanGraphs. He has put together three consecutive 20-homer, 20-steal seasons — the only player in baseball to have done so. Carlos Gomez, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, and Carlos Gonzalez have two such seasons in the last three years. Obviously, he would is quite important to the Nationals, but there may be nothing more they can do.

The Nationals recently discussed a Desmond trade with the Mariners, and they could continue to shop him throughout the upcoming season before he hits free agency.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.