Desmond plays well but the team does not
If Ian Desmond continues his pace or, perhaps, even picks up his production in the upcoming weeks, the Rockies may be able to find a trade partner for him. They may want to get out from underneath all (or some) of the contract if somebody is willing to take him. And if he’s playing well, the other team would be more inclined to take him.
The Rockies would not get much in the way of prospects but they could devote the money from the Desmond contract to a free agent this offseason, a trade for somebody that makes a lot this offseason, or dedicating the money to an extension of a player.
Including the rest of this season, the Rockies owe Desmond roughly $48 million, plus the team option (or buyout) for the 2022 season which would put the remainder of his contract in the ballpark of $50 million to $65 million. It obviously wouldn’t completely cover an extension for somebody like Nolan Arenado (who is a free agent after next season) but it would provide a decent chunk of money.
They still could hang on to him but if somebody is willing to take him, it would give the Rockies an opportunity to provide somebody in the minor leagues, like Ryan McMahon, with some much needed experience at the major league level.