MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Desmond plans to 'enjoy every single day' with Nationals

Shortstop enters final year of contract confident he has regained consistency in swing

Desmond plans to 'enjoy every single day' with Nationals

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond arrived in camp Monday in a great mood. He said hello to most of his teammates and even gave a big hug to a member of the media.

Nothing is going to foul up Desmond's mood this season. Desmond is a free agent after this season and vows there will be no distractions as far as contract talks are concerned.

"I owe it to everybody here to give my 100 percent concentration and that's what I'm going to do," Desmond said. "All the other stuff is really not going to be talked about. It's time to go."

Desmond, agent Doug Rogalski and general manager Mike Rizzo have declined to talk about contract negotiations, but a baseball source said over the weekend that the two parties haven't had any significant negotiations this past offseason.

Desmond Wins Silver Slugger

In fact, according to reports, Desmond was close to being traded in a three-way deal to the Mets. Desmond said that he didn't take the report seriously.

"You can't really put too much stock into it because I never really heard from Mike," Desmond said. "I never heard from anybody. The only thing I did heard was [manager] Matt [Williams] calling me and telling me, 'You are not getting traded.'"

If this is Desmond's last year with the Nationals, he vows to enjoy the ride.

"If it's my last year here, it's my last year here. I'm going to enjoy every single day," he said.

Desmond is intent on improving his skills from last year. He was among the team leaders in homers (24) and RBIs (91). He has had three straight seasons of 20 or more home runs and 20 or more 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.

But Desmond says he never felt right at the plate, getting off to a slow start last season because he caught a bad case of the flu.

"My swing felt inconsistent. I never really went up to the plate and had a clear mind," Desmond said. "All year for 162, I might have had a week stretch here and week stretch there where I felt comfortable at the plate where I can literally go up there, look up and hit the ball.

"I was up there tinkering with my swing, worrying about mechanics. That's not typical for me. I just want to get back this offseason and do what I know how to do -- kind of free the way for a smooth and easy transition into the season."

Desmond went to the batting cage, Sandlot @ 5-Tools Baseball in Bradenton, this past offseason and found his swing.

"Everything started to fall back in line. Once I got it out of my head, it became easier," he said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com 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.