Ian Desmond to Rockies: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured Columnist

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Ian Desmond #20 of the Texas Rangers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on September 8, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Free-agent outfielder Ian Desmond is joining the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies announced the move Tuesday after Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported Desmond was signing with Colorado on Dec. 7. Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed the agreement, adding it's a five-year deal.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the value of Desmond's deal is $70 million.

Rosenthal also noted the team plans to use him at first base and in the outfield. It does come at a steep price, though; the Rockies have to forfeit the No. 11 pick in the draft.

This is Desmond's third-different team in as many years. After spending seven years with the Washington Nationals, he signed with the Texas Rangers on a one-year deal in 2016.

The 31-year-old is coming off one of the most productive seasons of his career in his lone season with the Rangers, batting .285 with 22 home runs and 86 RBI while garnering his second-ever All-Star appearance.

It was an impressive season for a player who was signed so late in the offseason. After turning down a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals, Desmond tested free agency and wasn't signed until the last day of February when he accepted a one-year, $8 million deal from Texas, per Spotrac.

It was risky bet for him to try out free agency after he turned down a seven-year, $107 million deal from the Nationals before the 2015 season. He followed it up with his worst offensive year since 2011, batting .233 with 19 homers, 62 RBI and a meager .290 on-base percentage.

But upon his arrival in Texas, Desmond was forced to make the move from shortstop to center field due to Elvis Andrus patrolling the position. He posted a .966 fielding percentage in his first year in the outfield, committing 12 errors on 350 chances.

On Nov. 7, the Rangers made a $17.2 million qualifying offer in hopes of retaining him, but he rejected it one week later.

Now the Rockies will look to capitalize on Desmond's successful 2016 campaign.

Left field is a potential spot for the Rockies to use Desmond's offensive capabilities. Colorado got virtually no production from that spot in 2016 with a .256/.291/.403 slash line, per Baseball-Reference.com.

Desmond does hold the promise of providing a noticeable boost offensively given his prior experience at his new home park. According to Matt Musico of numberFire.com, Desmond has hit .379/.406/.611 with three home runs, 11 doubles and 18 RBI in 95 at-bats at Coors Field.

The Rockies don't often have issues finding offense because their park is catered to hitting in the thin air, but the front office identified multiple positions it wanted to address, and Desmond's versatility will allow him to handle two of them.

Desmond took a chance on himself after the contract debacle with the Nationals left him searching for a home. He put together a strong 2016 and will now reap the financial rewards while also playing an integral role for a Rockies franchise that is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.