The Colorado Rockies will attempt to play the 2020 season without outfielder Ian Desmond. The veteran announced his decision to stay away from the game this year to protect the health of his family during a time of major uncertainty in the United States. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post was among those to break the news late Monday evening.
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) June 30, 2020
Rockies Ian Desmond to Sit Out 2020
Desmond has been with the Rockies since the 2017 season but it has not gone according to plan. The 34-year-old hit just .255/310/479 with 20 home runs and 119 strikeouts in 482 plate appearances. That resulted in an 88 OPS+ and -1.8 WAR. He has contributed -3.2 WAR with Colorado despite a large five-year contract worth $70 million dollars. Desmond was respectable .297/350/626 against left-handed pitching but his overall performance made him a negative contributor.
The Washington Nationals drafted Desmond in the third round of the 2004 June Amateur Draft when they were still the Montreal Expos. Desmond has a career .263/315/427 slash line with 181 home runs. He does have three Silver Slugger awards and two All-Star appearances but he has been in sharp decline since joining the Colorado organization. He will receive service time despite not playing this year. His contract will end if there are no obstacles to a season in 2021.
What This Means For the Future
Desmond would have been a platoon option in left field against left-handed batters but the team has other options. Their initial player pool only has 52 names out of a possible 60. David Dahl and Raimel Tapia will get the majority of starts in left but the Rockies could move players around or add more from the system. Drew Weeks hit .285/345/530 with 20 home runs in AAA Albuquerque in 2019. The player pool also contains several multi-position players including Garrett Hampson and Chris Owings. The clubhouse might appreciate Desmond’s leadership and experience but the team probably improves with his decision to sit this year out.
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