There aren’t a lot of options for Ian Desmond, who won’t be going back to the Washington Nationals. Where does he end up? Possibly with the San Diego Padres or even the Detroit Tigers, although that might be a bit of a longshot.
The Padres do need a shortstop, and being a financially strict franchise might come in handy with Desmond, who lost a lot of market value last season, batting just .233 and finished with a .674 OPS, his lowest since 2011. The 2012 All-Star skipped on a pretty impressive extension, and now is going to be lucky to come close to the $11 million he made last season for the Nationals.
Alexei Ramirez is the starting shortstop on the current depth chart after re-signing with the team, but it doesn’t mean the Padres can’t add someone on top of that while moving Ramirez, or simply keeping him on the bench. Desmond is probably looking for a short-term deal in hoping of kicking up his value with a strong 2016 and then hit the free agency market again, knowing it’s a relatively weak market next year, although these things change depending on players performances over the next season.
The Padres future at shortstop is Javier Guerra, or so they hope. The plan is to make him ready to start for the team sometime in 2017, so in the meantime, having Ramirez or Desmond warm up his spot isn’t such a bad idea if it doesn’t become too expensive. But Desmond might end up going somewhere else, although not as a shortstop, which sounds surprising.
The Tigers, without wanting to spend too much money, are looking for a left fielders and Desmond can play in the outfield, although that’s rarely happened in his career. But if a player is desperate for a relatively good deal and the Tigers want to get creative and take a chance on a man who has a lot riding on next season, maybe this strange idea and combination might actually work out.
Desmond has hit 88 home runs while batting .264 with a .759 OPS over the last four seasons, although most of that quality came out smashing in 2012 and 2013. While a lot of bad things can happen in two years, there are many who think Desmond might just need a change in scenery to get his swing and numbers back to where they were, and be a major contributor to the next team that takes him.