If today you happen to read USA Today, Deadspin, or ESPN you may see headlines insulting Ian Desmond and saying how he “blew 100 million dollars”. If you aren’t really familiar with the situation you may think to yourself WHAT AN IDIOT. When in reality Ian Desmond did exactly what only a few professional athletes in todays day in age have the balls to do, and that’s believe in themselves.
The Texas Rangers bet on Desmond having a bounce back season and for all intensive purposes I agree with the Rangers brass that Desmond is in line to have yet again a typical Ian Desmond year of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. If we flash back to the end of the 2013 season the Nationals realized the combination of both power and speed of Desmond was worth a fair 7 year 107 million dollar contract. He was just coming off back to back 20+ home run seasons and 20+ steal seasons. You don’t find that too often now a days and if we add the fact that his defense up the middle was above average the contract offer made sense. Flip over to Desmond’s home base and they are seeing…
Desmond had just received, for the second year in a row, the Silver Slugger award. The other hot commodity free agent short stop, Elvis Andrus, negotiating and accepting a contract for 8 years at 120 million. Here is a guy who isn’t even close to Ian’s power if you look at their comparable numbers Desmond was crushing Andrus in OPS, OBP, HR, RBI, total bases and Slugging percentage. They even tied in the amount of hits in 2013. Lets put the cherry on the top of the icing, Robbie Cano received a $240,000,000.00 contract from the Seattle Mariners at age 33!!
Now not saying Desmond was or is as good as Cano, but to see those kind of high numbers for a guy who is five years older than you (and plays in the infield) has to make you think. To see Elvis Andrus get a $120,000,000.00 dollar deal has to really make you think. It has to make you think that you have been playing this game your entire life, grade school up to the pros, why not bet on yourself to have another monster 20+ homer with a 20+ steals season? Why except the Nationals offer before even testing out the free agent waters? If Robbie can get $240 mil and Elvis can get $120 mil, I should sit somewhere in between those numbers based on how I have performed over the last part of my contract. The fact of the matter is after Ian declined the Nationals offer he went on to have even more home runs the next year (24) and even more RBI (91) than he did in the previous year when he was offered $107 million. He had to be thinking he had made the right choice and now only needed to play out the last year of his contract keeping pace with what he had done over the last three strait years. He believed in his ability and didn’t take the easy money, he didn’t want to sell himself short. Well 2015 didn’t go as planned, Desmond had his lowest production in the last 5 years. Not to mention his 27 errors led all starting short stops in the NL.
2015 was a down year for Ian, he would be the first one to tell you that, but if you look closely at the numbers he still ranked pretty high offensively. Thanks to the forums on Rotoworld statistics can be brought to life in a flash, let’s look at how Desmond would have compared to the rest of the short stops in the MLB last year.
Desmond stole 13
Only 9 guys had more than 13 stolen bases
Desmond had 19
Only 3 guys had more than 19 home runs
Desmond had 69
Only 6 guys had 69+more than 69 runs
Desmond had 62
Only 7 guys had more than 62 rbi
WAR: (Wins Above Replacement)
Desmond had 1.7
Only 11 guys had 1.7+
(thanks Bluejaysin2030 for some of the stats)
Do we see how even in a BAD Year for Ian Desmond he still was in the top percentages of short stops in all MLB??!! I get it that he is 30 and there are some idiots out there in the sports world that thinks at 30 you break down and your skill sets start to diminish. I however do not believe that, in today’s game with the best doctors and healthiest nutrition plans professional baseball players can still be great heading into their 40’s (look at Cano). The Rangers are getting an absolute bargain with Desmond, and they aren’t even putting him at short stop. He will be their left fielder, which is fine until Josh Hamilton comes back. Desmond is getting a bad rap in the media because he turned down a $107 million dollar offer. They are making him out to be an idiot or egotistical. Some are saying he is greedy and not good between the ears. I have heard absolutely nothing but praise for Desmond as a teammate and leader from former teammates and managers. Bryce Harper (league MVP) has nothing but the best things to say about Ian
“He’s like my older brother,” Harper said. “He’s there for me whenever I need him. On or off the field. He’s awesome. His family is great. That’s what baseball is about, making relationships and enjoying things not just on the field but off the field. We’re not just baseball players. We’re people too. We have fun and enjoy what we do but there are bigger things in life than just baseball.” – Washington Post
He even went to talk about Desmond last week saying he couldn’t understand why this guy hasn’t been singed “I don’t think there is a draft pick out there who is better than Ian Desmond. I don’t there is a draft pick out there who is a better guy or person in the clubhouse than him. Hopefully, he gets the opportunity, a chance to play for a team. And once they get him, it will definitely be a diamond that nobody else wanted.” That is exactly what this article is meant to tell you. That Ian Desmond is a really great player who bet it all on himself and had a down year. I love the fact he bet it all on himself, did it cost him millions, possibly, but if Desmond can throw together a monster year this year in Arlington Texas then who knows. Maybe that big contract could come back around. The man helped me win a fantasy baseball championship, so I’ll always have a soft spot for him. Plus he was a huge Phillies killer during his tenure with the Nats, I know the guy can play and believe he is in for a big year.