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Zimmermann, Desmond decline qualifying offers

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Zimmermann, Desmond decline qualifying offers

Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, as expected, have declined the qualifying offers extended to them by the Nationals last week, leaving both players full-fledged free agents and ensuring Washington will receive two compensatory draft picks if and when they sign elsewhere this winter.

Zimmermann and Desmond never figured to accept the qualifying offer — a 1-year, $15.8 million contract to return to the Nationals in 2016 — so this news comes as no surprise to the club. But it does finalize the process that allows the Nats to receive something in return for losing their top two free agents.

In declining their qualifying offers, Zimmermann and Desmond aren't completely closing the door on a return to D.C. They're simply now allowed to negotiate with any of MLB's 30 clubs, including the Nationals. That said, to date there has been no indication from either the Nats front office or either player's side that negotiations are planned.

Though neither free agent is likely to command the kind of mammoth contract he hoped to get after a disappointing 2015, each still is expected to be among the top available players on the open market this winter and wind up with long-term deals. Zimmermann could sign for five or six years at $20 million annually or more; Desmond could sign for four or five years at $15 million annually or more.

Any club that signs either Zimmermann or Desmond now must forfeit its top unprotected 2016 draft pick — anything outside of the top 10 of the first round — but that pick won't simply be transferred to the Nationals. Washington's compensation picks will come at the end of the first round, based on the 2015 records of other teams that lose free agents for whom they extended qualifying offers. With many teams' picks going away after they sign players who turned down qualifying offers, the Nationals could end up with a pair of picks in the 20s to go along with the first-round pick they already own (currently 18th).

The Nationals could have extended qualifying offers to two other prominent free agents (Denard Span and Doug Fister) but chose not to before last Friday's 5 p.m. deadline. The concern from the club's standpoint was that either player might have been tempted to accept the offer, return to D.C. in 2016 and attempt to re-establish his value after suffering through injuries (Span) or inconsistent performance (Fister) this year.

The fact Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and Dodgers lefty Brett Anderson all accepted their qualifying offers this week — they're the first players to do so in four years since this system was installed — might have justified the Nationals' decision with Span and Fister.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

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Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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