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.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.