Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted this afternoon that the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals have discussed Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond on “multiple occasions” and that Washington “likes” Mariners shortstop Brad Miller.

A six-year veteran, Desmond has won the Silver Slugger award each of the last three years although his offensive numbers showed decline in 2014. He led all major league shortstops with 24 home runs and 91 RBI. But, his batting average (.255), on-base percentage (.313) and slugging percentage (.430) were his lowest since 2011. On top of that, he struck out a career-high 183 times; fourth highest in the majors leagues.

Despite his offensive decline in 2014, the right-handed hitter would still provide a significant upgrade over the 2014 tandem of Miller and/or Chris Taylor. The 29-year-old posted a 4.1 fWAR last year; third best in the majors. The Mariners shortstop platoon contributed a combined 2.8 fWAR. Also, Desmond averaged 23 stolen bases during the past four seasons, more than twice as many than any projected 2015 Mariners starter posted in 2014.

Desmond has been a durable performer who only has one stint on the disabled list during his career, when he missed 25 games in 2012 due to an oblique strain.  Otherwise, one-time all star hasn’t missed more than two games in any season and has averaged 156 games during the last two years.

If acquired by Seattle for Miller, Desmond would certainly supplant the 24-year-old Taylor as the Mariners’ starting shortstop. In Washington, he primarily batted fifth; playing 87 games in the fifth spot and 37 games in the sixth spot in the lineup during the 2014 season.

Desmond, who reportedly rejected a seven-year/$107 million contract extension last off-season, is in the final year of two-year/$17.5 million contract and will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Since General Manager Jack Zduriencik has repeatedly stated his reluctance to trade players with multiple years of club control for a one-year player, it’s difficult to imagine Seattle giving up Miller (who can’t become a free agent until 2020) for a one-year player.

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Luke Arkins

Luke is a native New Yorker, who grew up a Mets fan. After the US Navy moved him to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, he decided to make Seattle his home. In 2014, Luke joined the Prospect Insider team and is now a contributor at HERO Sports also. During baseball season, he can be often found observing the local team at Safeco Field. You can follow Luke on Twitter @luke_arkins

12 Comments

  1. Pass on this rental.

  2. I’d pass on this one too. Concentrate on finding a right-fielder, and keep the trade chips for later if possible.

  3. 2014 numbers: batting average (.255), on-base percentage (.313) and slugging percentage (.430). Now take those numbers to the harder AL and spacious Safeco Field and we are lucky if he hits .230 here. Hope we don’t do it…

  4. Desmond has put up 20/20 number the past 3 seasons. His batting average did dip this past season.. but a .265 hitter with 20/20 ability and above average D. Should not be passed on. If it costs one of Miller or Taylor and a couple prospects who may never amount to a lot… why not do the deal. M’s could add Desmond and Viciedo and Melky. And be poised for a world series run.

  5. I think the Mariners may have addressed the additional lefty needed in the bullpen thru the Rule V draft. I don’t normally think much about these but this kid they picked, they have drafted before in 2009 and 2010 which means McNamara has plenty of knowledge. He converted to a reliever and average a strikeout per inning so he must have at least decent stuff that perhaps may play up as a reliever. In any case, this is a guy that might actually stick. His name is David Rollins and was drafted from the Astros organization.

  6. I don’t think I’d ship Miller for Desmond but it has nothing to do with feeling “set” for this year at shortstop. I think the Miller may end up becoming our version of Ben Zobrist in the ability to play all over the diamond. I wouldn’t mind seeing the acquisition of Desmond though guys, he’s one of the best shortstops in baseball…lets get into reality boys…lol.

  7. Rotoenquire, I just don’t think Desmond is much of an upgrade. If you want to upgrade with a Tulowiski of Colorado, then I am all in. If you honestly look at Desmond hitting in the AL and at Safeco, I just don’t see the upgrade there. Especially if Miller rebounds. Most scouts agree Miller is going to hit in the big leagues.

  8. I just think Miller is going to really turn it on this year. Will play a lot of positions in 2015 and then be our starting CF after that. My best guess anyway.

  9. Prospect and platoons are never an ideal option to hang your hat on. I. Desmond is one of the best SS right now. You are in go for it mode as an M right now. Why not add soemone that could net you a world series ring. Until M fans realize prospects are not the end all. Most do NOT work out. You keep your most likely in your scouts eyes and trade the rest when a chance to better yourslef pops up. You buy and fill whole through F/A when you can. The building for the future has ow moved to the win now portion of the programm. Time to change the mind set.

  10. Dumb idea.

  11. Well said, Paul, my sentiments exactly. This is another of those HSL runours. Z would never go for this.

  12. How would this guy’s numbers translate to the American League and Safeco field? No thanks, I’ll pass. If I was going to give away valuable assets for a one year rental, I would rather do it for an outfield bat like Upton, but I wouldn’t do that either…

    Our SS platoon of Miller/Taylor is just fine. I think Miller is going to have a better season this year, and trading him now is selling WAY TOO LOW.

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