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Report: Ian Desmond turned down contract extension worth about $90 million over the winter

Mar 23, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

New York Yankees v Washington Nationals Getty Images

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond turned down a hefty multi-year contract extension over the winter. Heyman’s sources estimate the extension was at least six years in length and between $80 to $90 million in value. The two sides eventually agreed on a two-year, $17.5 million deal in January to avoid arbitration.

Desmond, 28, has become one of the league’s best shortstops. Over the last two seasons, he has hit at least 20 home runs and stolen 20 bases while posting an aggregate .812 OPS. According to FanGraphs, he has actually been the most valuable shortstop in baseball since the start of the 2012 season, with an even 10.0 WAR. Baseball Reference is a bit less kind, pegging him as third-best with 7.1 WAR, with the discrepancy occurring mostly due to defensive metrics. Either way, he has turned into quite a valuable player.

While it will be nice for the Nationals to lock up a key player at a key position, they’ll eventually have to do the same with Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmermann. The Nationals currently have a $129.5 million payroll according to Cot’s Contracts, and already have $84 million committed for the 2015 season.

  1. David Proctor - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    This was reported a month ago in the Washington Post. Either way, it’s not surprising. 7/90 comes out to 5/72.5 in his free agent years and he would certainly earn way more than that on the market. I don’t think Desmond even considers it unless it’s over 100M.

    • sportsnut101 - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Dumb move he could get hurt Maybe they will make deal during season but they offer u 90 U won’t get 72 at age 30

      • David Proctor - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        He absolutely would get more than 5/72 at age 30. Do you not see the contracts going around? Agents are not dumb.

    • paperlions - Mar 24, 2014 at 7:35 AM

      He might get that. It really depends on what he does the next 2 years and the market the year he is a FA. Desmond being among the best SS the last 2 years says far more about the lack of elite SS than it does Desmond himself. He is a nice player, but he’s not a difference maker that will have teams falling over themselves to sign him.

      • stex52 - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:15 AM

        Yeah. You see some of the young guys starting to come up (Simmons at Atlanta, Correa at Houston, maybe Castro at the Cubs will find his game) he may could a step overall in the ratings. I like Desmond, but I think SS is a tough position to pay that kind of money for unless you have a real superstar.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        True. But if he continues to be the only game in town by the time he’s a FA he may be able to set his price if he continues to be a Top 5 SS. It’s all about what the market will bear not necessarily what we think he’s really worth.

        Desmond is betting he will keep putting up gaudy numbers that will entice the RAJ’s of the world.

      • paperlions - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Agreed. Assuming the low end, he is betting that he can get more than 4 years and $62.5M in FA. With 2 more good years, he could beat that number by a lot, with 2 solid years, he could still hit that number, he’d really have to fall off to to get a lot less than that.

      • David Proctor - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        He’s been worth 10 WAR over the past 2 seasons…

      • paperlions - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        …and he was worth 2.1 WAR the 2 years before that. I am willing to be a 32+ yr old Desmond will be closer to that player than the 5 WAR version. Position player primes occur roughly from ages 25-29, there are a LOT of guys that have a couple of great years during their prime and don’t do much before or after….that is the kind of thing that worries me about Matt Carpenter.

  2. doncorleone17 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    What an idiot he, he’s not even worth that money why turn it down ? Smh

    • madhatternalice - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      You’re right. The SS with the second best WAR in the league is somehow not worth the money.

      “Smh” indeed.

  3. raynman49 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    These athletes are sick. I’d love 1 million over 50 years.

    • clydeserra - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      that’s 20,000 a year.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Maybe he meant to write a billion? the ‘b’ is awfully close the ‘m’ on the keyboard.

  4. statsdolie - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    So you’d accept 20k a year???

  5. sjtorpitt - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Raynman, You could work at McDonalds as a cashier an make more than that.

    • raynman49 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      With my math mistake McDonald’s wouldn’t touch me. I’
      d have to run for Congress!

  6. dowhatifeellike - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    “We want to give you ninety million dollars if you’ll work six more years.”


  7. cshearing - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    It is quite the risk by Desmond. One bad leg injury and he may never be the same again. Guaranteed money is a very safe bet. This bet is riskier.

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