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Nats players happy Desmond found a landing place

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

VIERA, Fla. -- Several of Ian Desmond's former teammates on the Nationals were pleased to learn that he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Rangers on Sunday morning. They felt he was on the free-agent market too long.

Desmond had a chance to stay with the Nats. He turned down a five-year, $89.5 million contract extension before the 2014 season. Then, he turned down Washington's $15.8 million qualifying offer. The Nationals are expected to get the 28th and 29th pick in the 2016 Draft as compensation for losing Desmond and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who signed with the Tigers. Washington also parted with a pick when it signed Daniel Murphy.

VIERA, Fla. -- Several of Ian Desmond's former teammates on the Nationals were pleased to learn that he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Rangers on Sunday morning. They felt he was on the free-agent market too long.

Desmond had a chance to stay with the Nats. He turned down a five-year, $89.5 million contract extension before the 2014 season. Then, he turned down Washington's $15.8 million qualifying offer. The Nationals are expected to get the 28th and 29th pick in the 2016 Draft as compensation for losing Desmond and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who signed with the Tigers. Washington also parted with a pick when it signed Daniel Murphy.

A shortstop by trade, Desmond will start the season as Texas' everyday left fielder -- replacing Josh Hamilton, who will start the season on the disabled list. Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper expects Desmond to make a successful transition. Harper credits Desmond for helping him become the National League Most Valuable Player last season. He called Desmond one of the leaders on the Nationals and one of his favorite teammates.

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"I've always said, you are not going to get a Draft pick that is something like Ian Desmond, whether that's on the field or off the field," Harper said. "The Rangers are not only getting a great baseball player, but also a great person. He brings that to the clubhouse. I know he is very excited to be playing ball again. I'll bet his kids are, as well. ...

Video: WAS@NYM: Desmond catches Mets napping with steal

"I want to see what he does in Texas. The place is a launching pad. I'm very excited to see what he does there. He is in a new league, so he has to adjust a little bit. But I'm very excited to see what he's going to do."

Right-hander Max Scherzer was thrilled that Desmond signed with Texas, but is disappointed how the qualifying offer has impacted players such as Desmond. Some teams are unwilling to lose Draft picks to get players who were given qualifying offers.

"This is something that has to be addressed in the next [Collective Bargaining Agreement]," Scherzer said. "I feel like all the players -- even the young guys to the old guys -- everybody realizes this is a problem and it must be addressed with the owners."

Left fielder Jayson Werth said Desmond was in a tough spot and didn't have many options as far as where to play baseball.

"This is not the time of year you want to be jobless. I'm happy for him," Werth said. "Not exactly what he was looking for. But, at the same time, he has to be happy that he is not waiting until May or June. He would really be behind the 8-ball at that point. Great player, great person and good friend. I hope he does well."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Jayson Werth