Colorado Rockies: Would trading Ian Desmond be a good idea?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 27: Ian Desmond. Getty Images.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 27: Ian Desmond. Getty Images. /
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On Tuesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post and MLB Network, came up with a trade idea between the Colorado Rockies and the New York Yankees that would involve Ian Desmond. However, would it actually benefit both teams?

Ian Desmond began the first year of his five-year contract with the Colorado Rockies poorly as he only played in 95 games with an OPS+ of 74 and a -1.1 Wins Above Replacement. Also, only 19 of his 93 hits were for extra bases. Defensively, between the outfield and first base, he also played poor defense as he had -4 Defensive Runs Saved.

Desmond is still owed $63 million over the next four seasons so, if Desmond stays at his current pace, the contract could become a financial burden for the team.

Sherman suggests that the Rockies should trade Desmond to the Yankees for a player that no longer has much of a spot on the team any more: Jacoby Ellsbury.

What would Ellsbury bring to the Rockies?

Sherman contends that Ellsbury would help the Rockies because he could play left field for the Rockies and he would “provide athleticism in left in the big Coors Field outfield while serving as some security if center fielder Charlie Blackmon leaves as a free agent following the 2018 season.”

While Ellsbury would provide “athleticism” and provide speed (he had 22 stolen bases and an average sprint speed of 28.3 feet per second when the league average is 27.0, according to Statcast). However, he was a below average defender in 2017 as he had -3 Defensive Runs Saved.

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Why the trade wouldn’t be good

Also, Sherman contends that Desmond is a “miscast disaster” at first base but one could contend that Ellsbury would be the same in left field. He hasn’t played left field since 2010 for all of six games. Prior to that, he last played in left field in 2008.

To top it all off, Ellsbury is not a good offensive player. He had his best offensive season since 2014 last year but he still had an OPS+ of 97, or three percent below league average. If those numbers were to be in Coors Field, he would be close to Desmond’s offensive numbers for 2017.

In addition, he has only played more than 112 games once in the past three seasons. Before last season, Desmond played in 130 or more games in every full season he had been in the major league, going back to 2010. In six of the seven seasons, Desmond played 154 or more games per season so prior to last season, he was very durable.

Final Thoughts

I do have to give props to Sherman by trying to find a way for the Yankees to get rid of Jacoby Ellsbury. He mentions how he just built a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the Rockies hold spring training and they play the Diamondbacks for three series a year there. It would also help the Yankees get under the luxury tax threshold and the Rockies would be on the hook for the contract for one less year.

Even with these things, though, if Desmond regains his form that he had prior to coming to Denver, and particularly, the form that he had in Texas in 2016, the Rockies would be foolish to trade him for a washed up player like Ellsbury.

Next: Bud Black alludes to some more moves on the horizon

In my opinion, the risks outweigh the gains for the Rockies on this hypothetical trade put forward by Sherman and it would be a bad trade if the Rockies were to say yes to this one-for-one swap.

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