Not two days ago, I posted about a Ken Rosenthal report that had the Rangers kicking the tires on Ian Desmond as a left fielder. The idea seemed so far-fetched to me that I simply dismissed it as Desmond's agent making a play to generate interest in his client.
Well, here we are, and the Rangers have indeed signed Desmond to a 1-year, $8 million deal to play left field. To say I'm surprised would be an understatement.
In signing Desmond, the Rangers will forfeit the 19th overall pick in the June draft, thanks to the qualifying offer system. I've seen it thrown out there, most notably by Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball, that perhaps forfeiting the pick was a money-saving move more than anything in that it will lessen the financial commitment that Texas has to allocate to draftees this summer. I suppose that in some ways, that makes a bit of sense given some of the high-priced contracts the Rangers have right now.
From a pure baseball standpoint, I still can't say Desmond makes a whole lot of sense. He's coming off of a season in which he posted an OPS of .674 in 641 plate appearances. It's true that he picked things up after the All-Star break, but I'm still concerned. Furthermore, you have the fact that Desmond isn't actually, you know, an outfielder.
Should Ian Desmond have a bounce-back season, he could prove to be an asset for the Rangers, and at $8 million, could effectively provide excess value if he's able to put up 2-3 WAR season. If not, he'll end up being a poor signing. If he's able to also fill in as a utility infielder, his value further increases, so at least there's that.
This front office has never been shy about being aggressive and willing to try new things, and this would certainly fall into that category. Given the past -- and recent -- successes, I'm willing to at least wait and see on this one, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm still struggling to wrap my head around this signing.