The Colorado Rockies finally made their splash at the winter meetings as they reached an agreement with big name … who could be their first baseman for next year … or the first of a series of moves by the team.
Honestly, when Ian Desmond reportedly agreed to a deal worth $70 million over five years, it was a surprise. The Rockies will forfeit the 11th pick in next year’s draft because of the signing.
Desmond played last year for the Texas Rangers primarily as an outfielder, appearing in 130 games as a center fielder and 29 as a left fielder. The 30-year-old played signed a one-year deal with the Rangers last year after he had a lackluster market as a shortstop.
He spent the previous six seasons with the Washington Nationals as their primary shortstop and was very productive. In 2016, he posted a slash line of .285/.335/.446 on his way to 22 homers and 86 RBI. Desmond also provided the Rangers with 21 stolen bases.
His career numbers are similar to 2016’s as he has hit .267/.316/.427 over his eight-year career. He provides power and speed with 132 homers and 147 stolen bases in his career. Desmond “bet on himself” signing for a year with the Rangers after having a lackluster market in free agency last year. He came through and put together an All-Star campaign in 2016.
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It is certainly a move that no one saw coming, as Bridich and the Rockies front office continue to do most of their work completely behind the scenes. It has been reported the Rockies will play Desmond at first base.
The Rockies did sign a right-hander to play first base … just not the one we expected. Desmond has less power than the like of Trumbo and Encarnacion but is a better all-around player as evidenced by his positional versatility and the value he provides as a baserunner. He has never played first, but as a middle infielder will know how to play ground balls and should have the athleticism to stick there.
The five-year deal also means he will be able to move around down the road if Carlos Gonzalez transitions to first base or enters free agency in 2017.
The possibility that the Rockies signed Desmond because there is another move in the works also makes sense. Rumors about Charlie Blackmon to the Cardinals continue to swirl (read more here), which make sense given Desmond’s ability to also play outfield. We will have to wait and see what Jeff Bridich’s plans are for the rest of the offseason.