We've been hearing a lot of rumors coming out of Nationals camp about the team's interest in Twins outfielder Denard Span, and that it would likely take Ian Desmond to make the deal happen. The team seems like they are willing to move Desmond because they would prefer to play Danny Espinosa at shortstop, and have a second baseman, Stephen Lombardozzi, waiting in the wings in the minors. But Desmond is still a young peice who could eventually contribute to a major league contender.
So should the Nationals trade a young player at shortstop for a young player at center field? Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says no.
Trading Desmond now would be the epitome of selling low. It would be difficult to argue against Desmond as having, so far, one of worst offensive season of any everyday player in the National League. His .584 OPS is the worst in the league (although his 63 OPS+ is better than Casey McGehee) and his .273 on-base percentage is 146th out of 152 qualifying players in the majors.
To be fair to Kilgore, "because he stinks" isn't a great reason not to trade somebody. If the Twins (or anyone else) were interested in Desmond, it would be for his potential, not his production. So if they can sell the interested team on that, the Nats probably wouldn't be taking too much of a bath on him. As long as they can get decent return for him, I don't think trading Desmond is a bad idea. But of course, that means there needs to be decent return.