Would the Nationals welcome back unsigned shortstop Ian Desmond?

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Free agent shortstop Ian Desmond remains unsigned, which in theory could open the door for the Nationals to re-sign him given that they’re the one team able to do so without forfeiting a draft pick. However, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post “that ship has sailed.”

Wagner reports that Desmond and the Nationals have had zero negotiations this offseason and in fact haven’t talked contract since he turned down a $90 million offer in the spring of 2014. He also turned down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer two months ago.

Clearly the Nationals never intended to keep Desmond once that happened, which is why they traded for a long-term shortstop in Trea Turner and signed veteran middle infielders Daniel Murphy and Stephen Drew to go with in-house option Danny Espinosa. If anything the Nationals have too much middle infield depth.

And now Desmond, who’s coming off a career-worst season at age 30 and has seen his OPS decline every year since 2012, will be lucky to get even a fraction of what the Nationals offered him less than two years ago.

Mets acquire Brooks Pounders from Indians

Brooks Pounders
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The Mets have acquired right-handed reliever Brooks Pounders from the Indians for cash considerations, the teams reported Saturday. Despite his limited and varied major-league experience, Pounders has put up intriguing numbers at the Triple-A level and is expected to step into a not-insignificant role with the Mets’ relief corps.

Pounders, 28, signed a minor-league deal with the Indians last December and pitched to a healthy 2.31 ERA, 2.8 BB/8, and 11.8 SO/9 over his first 35 innings in Cleveland’s farm system. He hasn’t taken the mound in a major-league setting since 2018, however, when he appeared in 14 games with the Rockies and labored through a much more unsightly 7.63 ERA, 1.2 BB/9, and 10.0 SO/9 across 15 1/3 frames. Still, his peripherals are promising, and there’s no question the Mets could use some help bolstering a bullpen that currently ranks eighth-worst in the league with a collective 5.31 ERA and 0.2 fWAR.

In subsequent roster moves, fellow righty Tyler Bashlor was sent back to Triple-A Syracuse for the second time this season, while Héctor Santiago was designated for assignment, Tim Peterson was optioned to Triple-A, and Chris Flexen was recalled from Triple-A. It’s been a less-than-ideal campaign for Bashlor so far this year: through 13 relief appearances for the club, he lost control of a bloated 5.23 ERA, 5.4 BB/9, and 9.3 SO/9 in 11 2/3 innings and had not been utilized in a game since June 2.