The first viable report of the San Diego Padres and free agent shortstop Ian Desmond talking contract have surfaced. The Padres are kicking the tires on the slugging shortstop but it is clear the team is still very weary of signing the right handed hitter. Desmond would give the team an offensive boost, but is the right fit for the team?
Desmond’s numbers have been on a slow decline. Both defensively and offensively his numbers have suffered since he reportedly turned down a seven-year/$107 million dollar contract before the start of the 2013 season from the Nationals. He will not get anything near that right now, but the market on him should heat up eventually. He was the best shortstop available on the free agent market and he does have a positive track record of success despite his slip in numbers.
The Padres need a shortstop and that is obvious. The whole major league community knows that the team is on the lookout for a starting shortstop for the 2016 season and beyond. A.J. Preller has told local media that is the teams main focus right now. There is no indication of a trade coming at the moment so perhaps Desmond is the answer.
That really all comes down to the finances of a potential deal. The Padres probably would be willing to go one or two years at around $10-14 per season. Desmond would surely want more, but a one year deal could be beneficial for him. He could boost his value with a great season and hit the open market next offseason ready to cash in.
However if you are Ian Desmond, is Petco Park where you think you can have a breakout type year? Petco is not the most hitter friendly of ballparks, but he doesn’t really have many choices. There just are not many suitors for Desmond right now. Most teams have spent their money on pitching and there is still a ton of quality outfielders available on the open market.
So will the Padres sign Desmond? I’m sure the team is still exploring options on the trade front. The fact they haven’t already consummated a deal with Desmond leads most to believe they don’t have the hugest interest in him. He makes sense to people outside the city of San Diego, but to fans and those around the team, he isn’t a great fit.
Desmond struck out 187 times last year and 183 times the year before that. He is a low on base percentage/high strike out player. The Padres lineup is full of those type of hitters, and adding another one will just handicap the team even more. If Desmond were to be added, then the team would need to make some adjustments to its roster. You cannot have Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and Ian Desmond as your middle of the order. They will get eaten up by right handed pitching even worse than last years squad was.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 3, 2016
It still comes down to Alexi Amarista being the only current option on the roster right now for the Padres. The team can explore cheaper alternatives than Desmond in Jimmy Rollins or Alexei Ramirez. Rollins doesn’t seem likely but Ramirez could be a decent option. The team needs a short-term fix at the position and someone who can help mentor some young shortstops in the Padres minor league system.
Desmond could be a decent option for the team on a one year deal or perhaps a two or three year deal. That doesn’t constrain the team with a long cumbersome contract. The Padres have Ruddy Giron, Jose Rondon and Javier Guerra in the minors. Each has developed nicely over the last season. The future at shortstop is bright.
The question is how much has the market on Desmond dried up? It appears he wants to stick at shortstop and not play other positions like some have indicated. Although he could be a decent option at third base or in the outfield, his real value lies as a slugging shortstop with speed.
We will see what route A.J. Preller and the Padres go. They could take many paths to fill the shortstop whole. Ian Desmond seems like the easiest answer for the team, but we all know A.J. Preller does not take the easy path in life. Nor should he. If he want to improve this franchise the correct way, he must stay the course and not veer from his plan. Question is… Is Desmond part of those plans?