Desmond wants to play for World Series contender
Shortstop has until Friday to accept Nationals' qualifying offer
WASHINGTON -- Although the Nationals made him a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer last Friday, it's likely that Ian Desmond will leave the only organization he has known to test the free-agent market. He has until 5 p.m. ET this Friday to accept or decline the offer.
If Desmond turns it down, as expected, he would become perhaps the top shortstop available. On Wednesday, the 30-year-old joined MLB Network Radio and discussed what he will be looking for in his next team.
"I want to be part of something bigger than myself," Desmond said. "I want to win a World Series. I want to be able to make an impact on the team I'm on and also I want to learn from the players that I'm around. So I think there's numerous factors that go into it. Ultimately, I think it's going to come down to who the best opportunity to win a World Series is with."
The Nationals selected Desmond in the third round of the 2004 Draft, back when they were the Montreal Expos. The franchise moved to Washington the next year, and Desmond has been its starting shortstop since his debut in September 2009.
Over his tenure, Desmond watched the Nats transform themselves from a 100-loss team to one facing high expectations each year. Washington made the postseason for the first time in 2012 and did it again two years later. From to that experience, Desmond knows how fortunes can change, so he plans to keep an open mind rather than relying on reputations or word of mouth.
"I think if somebody would have called anybody that played on the Nationals in 2011 [when they went 80-81] and said, 'Hey, how is it playing for the Nationals?' and then in 2012 called and said, 'How is it playing for the Nationals?' I think you'd get two totally different answers," Desmond said. "So I would love to give the organization the opportunity to tell me the direction they're moving in and go from there."
One thing Desmond will miss if he signs with a new club is playing alongside Bryce Harper. The 23-year-old Harper was named a finalist for National League Most Valuable Player Award honors on Tuesday, but Desmond is certain Harper can continue to improve, especially in terms of increasing his production as a basestealer under the tutelage of new Nats first-base coach Davey Lopes.
After swiping 29 bases in his first two seasons, Harper has gone only 8-for-14 over the past two.
"What a blessing that was for me and my teammates to watch him go out and perform the way that he did last year, and from the minute he got called up to the big leagues," Desmond said. "The kid's an unbelievable ballplayer. He's extremely passionate, as we all know. ... I know -- I don't think, I know -- that he's got more in the tank."