VIERA, FL. — With Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler having found homes for 2016 - as weird as both situations were - that leaves Ian Desmond as the only remaining free agent who turned down a $15.8 million qualifying offer.
Desmond rejected the Nats' QO to test free agency and has yet to find a deal or get close to one with any club. Danny Espinosa, who shared the Nationals' middle infield with Desmond for six seasons, stood up for the shortstop, who is still expected to leave Washington when he does ultimately find a new contract.
"It's very frustrating because he's such a good ballplayer," Espinosa said. "For what he did for four or five years here, to help this organization move forward and take big steps and win three Silver Sluggers in a row. To not have a season that was up to his standards and then to have it affect him this much to where he hasn't even signed yet? It's disappointing to see. He deserves to be somewhere right now."
The qualifying offer system has created an interesting debate around baseball and Desmond is quickly becoming the most notable cautionary tale of its drawbacks.
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It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.