News broke on Sunday morning that Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond plans to opt out of the 2021 season … for now.
Through an Instagram post, the 35-year-old Desmond announced his intention to not return to the Rockies to start the 2021 campaign. One of the key phrases in Desmond’s message is, “For now, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2021 season.” The words “For now” seemingly leave the door open for Desmond to return later in the season if he desires.
Desmond, who also opted out of the 2020 season, mentions later in the post that he is “willing to do whatever I can to help them (Rockies) from afar.” He also cites the desire to be with his family as a primary driver for his decision, a similar tone as we heard from him in 2020 as well.
Here are some of the ways the opt-out announcement from Ian Desmond impacts the Colorado Rockies in 2021.
In an offseason already rocked by the trade of Nolan Arenado, the non-tendering of David Dahl and Tony Wolters, and plenty of questions about the future of Trevor Story in Denver, Desmond was being looked at for more of his clubhouse role in 2021 rather than an on-field role. Noted by several Rockies players as one of the leaders of the team, Desmond was thought to be returning to the team and competing for time in the outfield as well as potential reps at first base.
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Look for more of the “leadership” in the clubhouse to now come from Story, Charlie Blackmon, Scott Oberg, and Daniel Bard, among others.
On the field, Desmond’s opt-out will likely open the door for more playing time in the outfield for Raimel Tapia (could he have had a platoon with Desmond in left had the opt-out not occurred?), Sam Hilliard, and Garrett Hampson. The latter two will likely focus on center while Tapia and Blackmon (listed recently as part of MLB Network’s “Top 100 right now” players) will hold down the respective corners.
Listed on the 40-man roster, expect Desmond, due $8 million this season, to be placed back on the restricted list as he was during the 2020 season. With veteran players such as C.J. Cron, Greg Bird, and Chris Owings in camp looking for a roster spot, Desmond’s departure now opens up another potential spot for someone with MLB experience to make the team. Look for Cron and Owings to be the leaders in that race.
We will have more on this story, including reactions and quotes from Rockies players and manager Bud Black, later in the day. Please keep checking back for updates, which we will list below.