The Rockies have signed free agent outfielder Ian Desmond, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal and confirmed by Jon Heyman. Desmond, who played for the Texas Rangers in 2016, will receive a five year, $70 million contract. There is also an option for a sixth year that would take the contract total to $83 million. Since he rejected the qualifying offer from the Rangers, the Rockies will forfeit the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft.
Desmond is currently slated to fill the hole at first base for the Rockies, though he is going to play some outfield as well. At first glance, it is odd as he has no professional experience at first. He is a former infielder though, which may make the transition to first base easier. Considering the Rockies’ apparent surplus in the outfield, it seems clear that more moves are on the way.
A Montreal Expos third round pick in 2004, Desmond made his major league debut with the Washington Nationals in 2009. He primarily played shortstop in six years in Washington, accumulating a .264/.312/.424 line with 110 home runs and 122 stolen bases in 927 career games.
After a lackluster 2015, he turned down a qualifying offer and saw his market tank. He didn’t sign until after the start of spring training, eventually signing with the Texas Rangers for one year and $8 million. He bounced back well, putting up a .285/.335/.446 line with 22 home runs and 21 stolen bases for the AL West champions while playing primarily centerfield. He was selected for the American League All-Star team for his efforts.