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Ian Desmond Signs Five-Year Deal With Rockies

Ian Desmond Keith Allison via


Ian Desmond signs five-year, $70 million deal with the Colorado Rockies

Two-time All-star Ian Desmond has signed a five-year deal worth $70 million with the Colorado Rockies. Desmond is coming off a season in which he hit .285 with 22 home runs and 86 RBI’s. The 2016 season was Desmond’s first and last with the Texas Rangers. His .335 OBP, .446 slugging percentage, and .781 OPS earned him All-star Game honors for just the second time in his career. Desmond definitely took advantage of his increased value this off-season, and received a good contract from the Rockies.

With the signing of Desmond, the Rockies now face a problem. Desmond is by trade a shortstop, but does have some experience in the outfield. With Trevor Story at shortstop, it would seem the Rockies would need to use Desmond in the outfield. There is a problem with that also. Currently, the Rockies outfield consists of David Dahl, Charlie Blackmon, and Carlos Gonzalez. Dahl played in 63 games for the Rockies in 2016, and hit 7 home runs and drove in 24 runs. He hit over .300, and had an OPS north of .800. The left fielder is 22 years old, and seems to have a bright future ahead of him.

Right now, the logical thing for the Rockies to do would be bench the inexperienced Dahl, and move Desmond into left field. Desmond has played 29 games in left field during his career, all of them coming in 2016 with Texas.

Another possible option for the Rockies would be to trade Charlie Blackmon to either the Toronto Blue Jays or St. Louis Cardinals, and put Ian Desmond in center field. Blackmon hit over .300 in 143 games for the Rockies in 2016, so replacing his bat with Desmond’s could backfire as Ian has never hit over .292 in his career.

Reports have surfaced that the Blue Jays and Rockies have discussed a trade that would send Blackmon to Toronto for Marcus Stroman. That deal would give the Rockies a front-end of the rotation starting pitcher, and free up room for the newly signed Desmond.

As it stands right now, Ian Desmond is slated to play first base for the Rockies in 2017. That is a position that Desmond has never played at in his career, and he may lack the offensive firepower of a prototypical first baseman. That is where Mark Trumbo could come in. Trumbo is a power hitting first baseman and outfielder. Last season with the Baltimore Orioles, Trumbo hit 47 home runs and drove in 108 runs. He played 37 innings at first base in 2016, but has over 3,000 innings at first base in his career.

Signing Trumbo would still mean that the Rockies would need to trade or bench an outfielder. The obvious player to bench would be Dahl, but with his good numbers in 2016, that could prove to be a bad decision.

The Rockies are faced with a great problem right now. They have to many players and not enough positions for them. One can almost guess that the Rockies did not tie up $70 million in Ian Desmond so that he could learn a new position. The signing of Desmond signals that the Rockies could be in the market to deal an outfielder.

This off-season, the market for outfielders is a little weak. Dexter Folwer is still on the market, but is being pursued by the Cardinals and Blue Jays. Yoenis Cespedes has already re-signed with the New York Mets for over $100 million, which could set the asking price for Blackmon if the Rockies decide to deal him.

If the Rockies can trade Charlie Blackmon and get back some solid, major league ready pitching, it could be a win-win for Colorado. While Desmond may not provide the type of offensive pop that Blackmon does, we could see Desmond’s numbers jump in the thin air at Coors Field.

By signing Desmond, the Rockies may have tipped their hand at what they are planning to do this off-season. The only question now is which way do they go. Do they keep Desmond at first? Or do they trade Blackmon for a pitcher, put Desmond in center field, and sign a first baseman? As the off-season rolls forward, that question will be answered.