Who saw this coming?
Shortstop turned left fielder turned center fielder Ian Desmond was signed by the Colorado Rockies. To play first base. A position he has never played in his professional life.
Sure he was.
At least for now. Until the Rockies clear room in their crowded outfield for him.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense. It usually takes a guy two or three seasons to fully learn a new position. Why would he scrap playing outfield now, after just one year, if it wasn’t to go back to short stop?
But to a third new position (left, then center, and now first) in two seasons? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
For him to agree to move to first means that the Ian Desmond market was so non-existent that he was forced to switch positions again. Of course, it could be that he didn’t want to wait until the last second before spring training to get a contract like he did last season when he signed so late that he was, indeed, forced to move to the outfield.
Maybe he is indeed going to move to first. It’s a head scratcher why he would want to do that, or why the Rockies felt that they absolutely had to have Ian Desmond at first. But there is still a lot of off-season baseball to be played out. And time will tell whether Desmond will have to buy a first baseman’s mitt.
Ian Desmond, by the way, becomes the first player who had a qualifying offer attached to him to sign with a different team this off-season. (Yoenis Cespedes and Jeremy Hellickson went back to their same teams.) So now the Rangers get the number 11 pick in next year’s draft.
With the Rangers coming to terms with Carlos Gomez a day earlier, the end of the Ian Desmond era in Arlington was a foregone conclusion. And not surprising. Desmond come out of the gate strong in 2016 but fizzled in the second half, making him much less attractive to pursue long term.
His splits were drastic.
First half: 15 HRs, 55 RBIs, .322 AVG, .375 OBP, .899 OPS.
Second half: 7 HRs, 31 RBIs, .237 AVG, .283 OBP, .630 OPS.
So, thanks for the season in Arlington, Ian. Or, more accurately, thanks for the half-season. Good luck in Denver. At first. Or where ever you end up.