Nationals Trade Rumors: Nats in market for Ian Desmond's eventual replacement?

Mitchell Layton

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting this morning that the Washington Nationals are in the market for a young shortstop who could eventually replace Ian Desmond at short should the 28-year-old infielder leave the Nats after the 2015 campaign.

There hasn't been much in the way of rumors involving the 48-40 Washington Nationals even with the 2014 non-waiver Trade Deadline just three weeks away, unless you count CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman's recent tweet about Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler being a potential target for teams in the market for pitching:

Detwiler, of course, hasn't appeared altogether comfortable in his relief role, though he's picked it up of late. Matt Williams' stated plan to have him become a power lefty like the Pirates' Justin Wilson hasn't worked out yet, but there have been signs that he could be just that and should the Nationals experience any issues in the rotation, Detwiler could ultimately return to a starting role though there are no hints that the Nationals plan to move him out of the bullpen.

Where exactly would the Nationals add anything at this point? The bench? The bullpen? Don't say, "Trade Denard Span!" it doesn't appear that's likely.

"'I don't know how this got out. It's not something that came from my side. We don't operate like that.'" -Ian Desmond to MLB.com's Bill Ladson on rumors of a long-term deal

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal did, however, write this morning that the Nationals have an eye on the future and are currently looking for an eventual replacement for Ian Desmond should the 28-year-old, '04 Montreal Expos' 3rd Round pick decide to leave the only franchise he's known as a professional after his current 2-year deal expires after the 2015 campaign.

Citing "major league sources," Rosenthal reports that, "The Nats are actively seeking to add a young shortstop."

The FOXSports.com reporter cites previous reports about Desmond turning down what was reportedly an $87-$90M offer before accepting a 2-year/$17.5M deal that bought out his last two years of arbitration-eligibility.

As previously reported, veteran Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote in a February 18, 2014 chat with readers that rumors from the "grapevine" this offseason said Desmond, "... turned down a contract extension from the Nats for more than Adam Jones' deal in Baltimore ($85.5M/7 yrs)," which, "...may even have passed the $90-M level."

"If you are talking about seven years," Boswell noted, "that's not such an astronomical average salary for a Silver Slugger SS."

Desmond "declined to talk about" the report when nationals.com writer Bill Ladson asked the infielder about it the day after the Washington Post's Mr. Boswell's comments.

Desmond told MLB.com's Mr. Ladson that he, "...was surprised when he saw the report in the Washington Post.":

"'I haven't really talked about contracts... I'll tell you that the Nationals and I had been in conversation prior to the two-year deal, but things didn't work out. I don't know how this got out. It's not something that came from my side. We don't operate like that.'"

The two-year deal he signed, as Desmond explained it, "... benefited my family and it didn't affect future infielders in the arbitration process."

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, in reporting this winter that his sources too told him Desmond turned down a multi-year offer from the Nationals, wrote that it was, "...believed to be for about $90 million," and, "... thought to be for up to seven years."

One "club official" Rosenthal quotes in today's story tells him, "'We have an exceptional shortstop, and we'd like to keep him. We're not going to discuss who we're looking at, and we're always looking for all sorts of good young players."

While noting that the Nationals are not going to trade either Desmond or 28-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who's in the same situation contractually, he writes that, "... the Nats are not going to sit still. They're looking for a young shortstop. They cannot count on keeping Desmond."

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