Shortstop Ian Desmond turned down the Nationals’ $15.8 million qualifying offer on Friday, officially thrusting him into free agency. The Padres have already expressed interest, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Desmond, 30, hit a disappointing .233/.290/.384 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI this past season. Prior to that, however, he hit 20-plus homers, 25-plus doubles, and stole 20-plus bases in each of the previous three seasons.
Desmond has draft pick compensation attached to him after receiving and then turning down the qualifying offer. As a result of finishing with one of the ten worst records in baseball in 2015, the Padres’ first-round draft pick is protected, so they would give up a second-round pick instead. Outfielder Justin Upton and starter Ian Kennedy both rejected qualifying offers from the Padres, which means they would be recouping two picks anyway so it may wash out.