Desmond declines to discuss report about contract

Desmond declines to discuss report about contract

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond declined to talk about a report that said he turned down an extension worth $90 million. Desmond was surprised when he saw the report in the Washington Post.

Desmond signed a two-year, $17.5 million contract before Spring Training, avoiding arbitration for the next two years.

"I haven't really talked about contracts," Desmond said. "I'll tell you that the Nationals and I had been in conversation prior to the two-year deal, but things didn't work out. I don't know how this got out. It's not something that came from my side. We don't operate like that.

"My job is to come here, stay focused, keep the focus in this locker room and try to win. I feel better than I did last year. I feel like I can really help this team this season. I've grown in a lot of different areas. I feel real strongly about my future with the Nationals. I would like to play here for the rest of my career."

Desmond and the Nationals have been talking about a contract extension dating back to the summer of 2012. Desmond said then that he didn't want to talk about an extension because he wanted to concentrate on winning the National League East title.

Since 2012, the two parties haven't able to agree on a long-term deal. Asked why he recently signed a two-year deal, Desmond said: "Initially, I was a little bit hesitant to do it, but in turn, I have a wife and kids. Guaranteed money is guaranteed money. I think it was a good, fair deal for both sides. I took a deal that benefited my family and it didn't affect future infielders in the arbitration process. To have the security was something I couldn't pass up."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.