In one of the biggest free agent moves of the offseason thus far, outfielder Ian Desmond will be leaving the Texas Rangers. According to multiple reports on Wednesday, Desmond will join the Colorado Rockies on a five-year, $70 million deal. The agreement also includes a club option for a sixth year that would raise the value of the contract to $83 million. Because Desmond declined a qualifying offer, the Rockies must forfeit the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft.
Sources: Ian Desmond to #Rockies.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2016
Desmond 5 yr $70M deal is pending physical #Rockies
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 7, 2016
Rockies Sign Ian Desmond for Five Years
Desmond, 31, came up with the Washington Nationals in 2009, and played in the nation’s capitol until signing with the Rangers last season. His best season came back in 2012, when he set career-highs (over a full season) in multiple offensive categories, including batting average (.295), OPS (.846) and home runs (25). Desmond is also the picture of consistency, as he has played least 154 games in six of his seven full seasons.
However, in 2014, his production began to tail off, and it bottomed out in 2015. That year he set career-worst marks in batting average (.233) and on-base percentage (.290). His power was still there, as his 19 home runs and 27 doubles showed, but he was struggling defensively at shortstop and it was affecting him at the plate.
While he won’t be returning to the Rangers, he does owe Texas a big thanks for reviving his career. In Arlington, he was moved to the outfield, and the change did wonders for his offensive production. His batting average and OPS climbed all the way back up to .285 and .781, respectiely, his highest since 2012. He also stole 21 bases after swiping just 13 in 2015.
As a power-hitting outfielder with speed (he’s recorded at least 21 steals in five separate seasons), Desmond should find success in the thin Colorado air. He may also see time at first base. The Rockies are a young, talented team, and came close to playoff contention last season. Desmond alone won’t take them the rest of the way, but he represents a step in the right direction. Colorado must still contend with the ever-talented Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, but they are more of a threat today than they were yesterday.