An All-Star in 2012, Desmond turned down a contract last offseason reportedly worth between $80 and $90 million over seven seasons. Desmond instead chose to sign a two-year, $17.5 million contract that will expire after the 2015 campaign.
Rosenthal reports the team is optimistic about its chances to retain Desmond, even though it's begun looking for other, younger options.
"We have an exceptional shortstop, and we'd like to keep him," one club official said. "We're not going to discuss who we're looking at, and we're always looking for all sorts of good young players."
Desmond is batting .240 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI this season. The Nationals are in second place in the NL East at 48-40, a half game behind the Atlanta Braves.
-- Paul Palladino