Right-hander Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Dexter Fowler both inking late deals leaves shortstop Ian Desmond as the last unsigned free agent among the 16 players to turn down one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offers from their old teams at the start of the offseason.
Desmond returning to Washington has been ruled out by the Nationals and he hasn’t been linked to many teams, with the most recent being a few reports about the Rockies having interest a couple weeks ago. Jose Reyes‘ possible domestic violence suspension could leave Colorado in need of a shortstop, but it’s unclear if the Rockies want to cough up a draft pick to sign Desmond is a rebuilding year.
Earlier this week Desmond’s old Nationals teammates expressed shock that he remains unsigned, but it’s become very clear that the qualifying offer and draft pick compensation setup negative impacts the market for many non-star free agents. And in Desmond’s case he’s also seen his production decline dramatically, with his OPS going from .845 to .784 to .743 to .674 since making the All-Star team in 2012. Back then he rejected a $100 million extension offer from the Nationals, too.
Unfortunately for the 30-year-old shortstop “do you want to sign Ian Desmond to a sizable multi-year contract?” and “do you want to give up a draft pick to sign Ian Desmond to a sizable multi-year contract?” are proving to be very different questions.