San Diego has a clear need at shortstop and Ian Desmond might be among the most realistic targets. The Padres have already reached out to Desmond, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Washington made Desmond a qualifying offer, however he declined it Friday afternoon. There are not many top tier free agent shortstops, and with Andrelton Simmons already being traded to the Angels, Desmond will likely be considered the best player available at the position.
Stephen Drew, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins are among the other free agent shortstop options, although none of the three had solid years offensively and might not be in a position to help a club for more than a few seasons.
The team that signs Desmond will have to surrender a draft pick, which could make the Padres hesitant to pursue him. However, San Diego's top pick, the eighth overall selection, is protected, and if Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton sign elsewhere, the club would also receive picks in return.
San Diego has yet to find a consistent shortstop, with Jedd Gyorko, Clint Barmes and Alexi Amarista sharing time at the position last season Despite the front office's attempts to upgrade. With Kennedy and Upton no longer on their payroll, the Padres should have the financial flexibility necessary to add an experienced shortstop. The Padres also moved Craig Kimbrel, which takes another $11 million off of their 2016 payroll.
Desmond, 30, has spent his entire career in the Nationals organization. Over 156 games with the Nationals last season, he batted .233/.290/.384 to complement 19 home runs and 62 RBIs. Although he had a down year offensively, Desmond is still likely to receive a large contract. He is a career .264 hitter who the Nationals did not have an issue parting ways with because of the emergence of Trea Turner.