The lone remaining free agent who had a draft pick attached to his name has been taken off the market.
On Sunday, the Texas Rangers and Ian Desmond agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal. Despite playing the role of one of baseball’s best offensive shortstops since 2012, the Rangers have a different position in mind for their newest player.
With outfielder Josh Hamilton starting the season on the disabled list and expected to remain there through May, Texas intends to insert Desmond into their lineup as the daily left fielder to fill the void Hamilton has left behind. Desmond has just two appearances in left field in his seven years in the big leagues, all with the Washington Nationals.
Desmond could also serve as a utility man to his new club — something they really didn’t have prior to his addition. With the capability to spare some rest to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor, Desmond further piqued Texas’ interests.
The signing will cost the Rangers the 19th-overall pick in the 2016 draft; however, they gained the 30th pick when Yovani Gallardo signed with the Baltimore Orioles last week.
As you may recall, Desmond rejected the $15.8 million qualifying offer that the Washington Nationals offered him at the conclusion of last season. At 30 years old, Desmond is still in his prime and poised to take another crack at free agency next offseason.
One of Desmond’s best offensive seasons came just a year ago. With 24 home runs, 91 RBIs, and a .430 slugging percentage, he took home the 2014 Silver Slugger Award for National League shortstops, beating out former Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Desmond’s production dipped in 2015, particularly in the RBIs department. His .233 batting average, 19 home runs, and 61 RBIs dissuaded teams such as the Chicago White Sox from extending multi-year offers to him.
With a new team and different positional role, Desmond is looking to get his bat back on track and give buyers something they want to buy at the end of this season.