Ian Desmond’s former teammates stunned he’s still looking for work

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Spring training is under way and the regular season starts a little over a month from now, but shortstop Ian Desmond is still without a team. Desmond, 30, is a former All-Star and a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner who has compiled three 20/20 seasons. He is one of only a handful of good players yet to sign on the dotted line, along with Dexter Fowler.

Desmond’s job situation has stunned his former Nationals teammates, Ken Rosenthal reported for FOX Sports on Monday.

Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa said, “I’m shocked.”

Right-hander Max Scherzer said, “Of course I’m surprised.”

Right fielder Bryce Harper, the reigning National League MVP, seemed almost speechless.

“I don’t think anybody has words for it,” Harper said. “It’s pretty incredible to even be talking about it right now. I really don’t know what to say.”

Harper elaborated, pinpointing the qualifying offer system as the culprit. He said it’s “something baseball definitely needs to change.”

Desmond rejected the Nationals’ $15.8 million qualifying offer in November to become a free agent. A player who turns down a qualifying offers has draft pick compensation attached to him, meaning that his new team forfeits a first round draft pick (if it’s unprotected) or second-highest pick (if protected) to sign him.

Howie Kendrick was a particularly prominent case in which a team very clearly valued the draft pick more than the free agent. The Dodgers only came around on Kendrick when he lowered his asking price, settling for a two-year, $20 million deal on February 4.

MLBPA executive Tony Clark said earlier this month that he isn’t happy with the system and hopes to discuss it when the next Collective Bargaining Agreement is negotiated after the current one expires after the season. It’s easy to see why the players and the union have some unpleasant feelings about the current system.

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.