Although it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that shortstop Ian Desmond would not return to the Nationals in free agency this winter, no definitive decision had been announced by either side until this weekend. In a tweet on Sunday, Desmond thanked Nationals fans and appeared to officially reveal that he will not be back with Washington.
Thank you for everything. I will forever be proud to say I played for the Washington Nationals.— Ian Desmond (@IDesmond20) September 28, 2015
Desmond also spoke candidly about his future in an interview with James Wagner of the Washington Post:
“I know that there’s a new chapter looming,” Desmond said, leaning on the dugout railing before a recent game. “Over the course of my career, I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve and I’ve left it all out on the field. I feel like I’ve given everything I’ve got over that time. When that chapter closes, it’ll be just moving on to the next one.”
Desmond, 30, has spent his entire professional career with the Nationals, being selected by the Expos in the 2004 draft and playing in 922 major-league games over seven seasons. He will end his Nationals career with a .264/.312/.425 line and 110 home runs, with rookie infielder Trea Turner expected to replace him at short.
Desmond's rough 2015 season will surely hurt his free agent stock, so he should be considered to sign a one-year pillow contract and try to hit free agency next offseason. Other prominent shortstops on the market this winter include Jimmy Rollins, Stephen Drew, Asdrubal Cabrera, and potentially, Alexei Ramirez, so Desmond may find a long list of suitors on a relatively weak market.