Bill Ladson

Desmond turned down 7-year deal before 2014

Nationals shortstop will be eligible for free agency after '15 season

Desmond turned down 7-year deal before 2014

WASHINGTON -- Shortstop Ian Desmond turned down a seven-year, $107 million contract from the Nationals prior to Spring Training earlier this year, a baseball source has confirmed. The Washington Post was first to report the offer.

Desmond and the Nationals then agreed upon a two-year, $17.5 million deal to complete his arbitration years.

Desmond, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season, doesn't appear to be in a rush to get a contract extension. Washington general manager Mike Rizzo and Desmond's agent, Doug Rogalski, were at the General Managers meetings in Arizona, but there were no contract negations between the two parties. It's not known when the two parties will meet again. Desmond is currently enjoying time off with his family in Florida.

Desmond is the longest-tenured member of the Nationals. He was selected by the Expos in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and has been a steady influence on and off the field since he became a Major Leaguer in 2009.

This past season, Desmond got off to a slow start because of the flu, but he made up for it and was among the team leaders in homers (24) and RBIs (91). He has had three straight seasons of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Desmond also won his third straight Silver Slugger Award, joining Barry Larkin as the only shortstops in National League history to win three in a row.

If Desmond and the Nationals can't agree to teams it will be interesting to see who would replace him. The club has no one in the farm system who is ready for 2015. The Nationals like Wilmer Difo, but he is at least two years away from the Major Leagues.

The Nationals don't even have anyone in the Major Leagues to replace Desmond. If Desmond is injured, they could use Danny Espinosa, but he is not considered a long-term solution because he is not a consistent hitter.

This past July, Desmond told that he was confident that he would sign a long-term deal with the Nationals.

"I can't picture myself in any other uniform, clubhouse and Spring Training complex," he said. "I can't see myself with any other coaching staff or anything like that. This is what I know. This is what's on my mind. This is home for me. Until that changes, I can't picture myself in any other place."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.