Colorado shocked the baseball world this morning by inking Ian Desmond to a 5-year $70 million contract. But, Desmond has only played outfield and shortstop. That is why this is an interesting case.
Certainly Desmond will make the Rockies lineup that much more lethal, possibly the best in the game. However, what position will he play? There is no DH in the NL, and the only open spot in the Rockies’ defense right now is 1st base; a position Desmond has never played. Other than that, the Rockies are a small market team. Why spend $70 million on an experiment?
Colorado always has one of the best offenses in the game. The reason for their lack of success is pitching. Cheaper 1st base options on the market include Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds, Mike Napoli, and Ryan Howard. The Rockies need to improve their bullpen, and there are plenty of good relievers on the free agent market. $70 million is smarter to spend on a few bullpen pieces than an unnecessary bat, no matter how good.
Ian Desmond had a bounce back campaign this past season. He only hit .233 in 15’, resulting in a disappointing small 1-year contract. But, his new role with his new team, the Rangers, in 16’, made way for a comeback performance. Desmond brings roughly 5-tools to Colorado. Desmond has hit 20+ homers 4 times in his career and has stolen 20+ bases 5 times in his career. The 3-time silver slugger award winner has also hit .280+ 3 times in his career. Other than being great at the plate, Desmond has a great arm.
Other than a great arm and potential of good range, playing center in 16’ added versatility to Desmond’s game. According to Rockies’ reports, Desmond is going to be their Ben Zobrist. Right now David Dahl is in left field. Dahl stole the show in 16’ by hitting safely in his first 17 major league games. Gerardo Parra signed a 3-year deal with the Rockies last offseason, but only played 102 games in 16’ due to injury. There are also rumors that center fielder Charlie Blackmon is on the trade block. But, at first glance this signing is a head scratcher that could make for the most lethal lineup in the game.