Ian Desmond Signs with the Rockies

The curveballs just keep coming at the 2016 Winter Meetings, as Ken Rosenthal just reported a whopper:

While we were all trying to process exactly where Ian Desmond would play for the Rockies, since they’re nominally all set at the positions he plays, Rosenthal struck again:

This is interesting on so many levels, more of which will be sussed out later in a piece from Nicolas Stellini. What the trade appears to suggest most immediately, however, is that the Rockies are ready to push their chips into the middle of the table as they enter Year Three of the Jeff Bridich Era. This is news. The Rockies have made a habit of lying in the weeds or rebuilding for the better part of this century, having typically stayed out of the deep end of the free-agent market. With the five-year, $70 million commitment to Desmond, they have officially returned.

How much first base Desmond plays will ultimately be determined by whether the Rockies decide to move one of their outfielders. Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez constantly see their names in trade rumors, and that’s unlikely to cease now that Desmond is in the fold. But what could perhaps be more interesting is if the Rockies choose to use Desmond in a Ben Zobrist role, letting him shuttle in for Trevor Story to help keep the latter fresh, as well as manning first base and cycling among the outfield spots.

The bottom line is that the Rockies are now officially interesting. They had already been trending that way, but this signing confirms it. They have a rotation that contains four pitchers projected at 2 WAR or better, plus an interesting rookie in Jeff Hoffman, as well as decent starting-pitching depth. The promotions last year both of Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray added much-needed substance to the rotation. They likewise have solid incumbents at second, short, third and the outfield. Now they’ve added Desmond. Their bullpen could be bolstered, but most teams can say that and the Rockies bullpen doesn’t project to be awful. There’s a good chance that there are more moves coming from the Rockies, moves that allow Desmond to shift back to a more natural outfield position, but in any event, there is now very real optimism around the 2017 Rockies.





Paul Swydan used to be the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com and The Boston Globe. Now, he owns The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Acton, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan. Follow the store @SilUnicornActon.

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Pirates Hurdles
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Pirates Hurdles

Funny that signing a -1.1 WAR FA at 1B to a long contract makes them interesting. Man Steamer hates Desmond.

dl80
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dl80

Steamer has him at 1.5 WAR next year.

Pirates Hurdles
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Pirates Hurdles

Depth charts have him at 1B, Steamer on his player page does not.