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Report: Ian Desmond finally finds free agent deal in AL West


Report: Ian Desmond finally finds free agent deal in AL West

Ian Desmond's long and drawn-out free agency saga is finally over, as the former Nationals shortstop has signed a one-year deal to join the Texas Rangers.

The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who notes the Rangers will forfeit the 19th overall pick as part of MLB's qualifying offer system. Desmond rejected a $15.8 million offer from the Nats after the World Series to test free agency. Desmond's new deal is reportedly worth $8 million, or about half of the QO he turned down.

This also comes after Desmond turned down multiple extension offers from the Nationals in recent years. He at one point eyed this offseason as an opportunity to earn a long-term deal of over $100 million.

The Rangers' interest in Desmond heated up this weekend as they reached out to see if he would play left field. They have a void in their outfield with Josh Hamilton set to begin the season on the disabled list. Desmond could spend much of the 2016 season in the outfield, while also pitching in at infield positions.

Desmond, 30, leaves the Nationals after seven seasons. He was the lone holdover from their Montreal Expos days, having been taken by Montreal in the third round of the 2004 draft. There are now no players on the Nationals' roster with ties to the Expos.

Desmond made the All-Star team for the Nationals in 2012 and won three NL Silver Slugger awards from 2012-14. He hit .233/.290/.384 with 19 homers and 62 RBI in 2015.

Desmond's numbers dipped in 2015, which contributed to his trouble finding a new home. But his free agency could long be remembered for the negative effect the draft pick compensation system had on him.

MLB's qualifying offer system forces teams to surrender a first round pick in order to sign a player who rejects the offer, which is the average of the top 125 salaries from the previous season. Top 10 picks are protected through the system, but it has proven to be prohibitive for many free agents, Desmond being the most extreme case.

The Nationals kept in contact with Desmond on and off throughout the winter, but never showed serious interest in retaining him. Their intentions were signaled one year ago when they traded for top prospect Trea Turner. This winter they signed second baseman Daniel Murphy to shore up their middle infield and even gave him Desmond's No. 20 jersey number.

Desmond becomes the latest Nationals player to leave Washington after being a mainstay for the franchise for years. Jordan Zimmermann, Denard Span, Doug Fister and Craig Stammen all departed through free agency. And reliever Drew Storen was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in January.

The Nationals received a compensation pick when Zimmermann signed with the Detroit Tigers and they will get another selection for Desmond signing with the Rangers.

[RELATED: Nats' Robinson takes nothing for granted despite strong '15 season]

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.


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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.