Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has made a case for a contract extension, the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore argued Monday in his positional review of the Nationals' season. Desmond, 27, helped the Nationals win the National League East Division crown for the first time in franchise history.
Desmond, despite missing four weeks because of an oblique injury, led Nationals position players in wins above replacement (FanGraphs version), made his first all-star team and emerged as one of the top shortstops in the majors. He exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, and in the National League Division Series, he was the Nationals’ best player, going 7 for 19 with a double.
Desmond's production gave the Nationals security at a position that's vital for future success. And because of that Kilgore believes one of Washington's first offseason goals could be looking to extend the shortstop for the long term.
After his breakout season, Desmond could be in line for an extension that would give the Nationals a long-term shortstop at a controlled cost and give Desmond stability. Something like six years for $45 million would take Desmond through all three years of arbitration and buy out three years of his free agency. The Nationals may want to wait to ensure 2012 wasn’t an outlier, but they believed in Desmond even when he scuffled his first two major league seasons.
In 2004, Desmond was a third-round selection by the Montreal Expos. Desmond made his MLB debut with the Nationals in Sept. of 2010 and slowly developed into a solid player.
This year, Desmond made the NL All-Star roster for the first time but did not play in the game because of a sore oblique. By the end of the season, Desmond hit .292 at the plate with 25 home runs, 73 RBI and 72 runs score.