Six Degrees of Ian Desmond

It was announced Sunday that the Texas Rangers signed former Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond to a one-year contract worth $8 million. Ken Rosenthal reported that, along with the idea that Desmond is being brought to Arlington to play left field.

Those two sentences leave you with two questions:

  1. If you stack $8 million in 100 dollar bills, is it taller than Ken Rosenthal?
  2. What’s the thought process of this move since, on its face, it doesn’t make a lot of sense?

I don’t have a good answer to either, since I’ve never stacked that much money nor been the general manager of the Texas Rangers. Many writers will bandy about the numbers on Desmond, what it means for the lineup, and debate whether he’s in decline.

In my mind, the numbers aren’t what stand out. How this impacts the futures of various players within the organization? That’s a pretty fun little game to play.

So for the first (and likely last) time ever, let’s play…Six Degrees of Ian Desmond!

Let’s start with the man himself. Desmond bet on himself last season, turning down seven years at $107 million to roll the dice on 2015. One snake eyes later he turned down $15.8M from Washington on a qualifying offer to try the free agent market. He signs for half that on a contending team whose closer didn’t choke their best player in the dugout on television.

Think on that for a second. In Texas, that likely means Shawn Tolleson would be choking either Cole Hamels, Adrian Beltre, or Rougned Odor.

Laugh, please.

Even out of position, the change of scenery represents going from a mansion by the airport to a premium lot on a golf course. As he settles in to a non-asphyxia environment in Arlington…

Elvis Andrus might want to keep a keen eye on things. In Desmond, despite his playing left field, you have a built in Elvis backup. You also have a situation where if Elvis under or over performs, Desmond could slide into that spot. This allows Texas to sell high should they want to, or just sit Elvis down for a couple days with an experienced replacement manning the position. That said, with a primary backup for Elvis established…

This means Jurickson Profar might want to sign a long term lease in the Round Rock area. Profar looks to be finally healthy and on the road to rebuild his super prospect status after his shoulder imploded two years straight. There are plenty of fans and writers alike, including this reporter, who dream of seeing the name Profar on the lineup card next to 6 in the future. Anything that allows him to play every day and regain his baseball existence is a good thing. Getting to do it at a level that’s more beneficial to him? Excellent. So the likelihood that Profar gets to stay down with the Express all year…

Suddenly means Hanser Alberto is now your primary backup to Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre. Alberto is the super sub, but the idea that he’s needed in two places instead of three is music to Jon Daniel’s ears. Odor is more likely to get hurt fighting a bear with a shiv than he is on the field (I’ll take Odor on that). So that means outside of the regular day off for Rougie, Alberto will primarily spell Beltre. We all love Belts, but having someone who is ready to step in for a 37-year-old injury prone player without worrying about roster thinning is great. Nobody is saying Alberto will Wally-Pipp Beltre, but Alberto represents a capable stand in. So if you have Alberto to be Beltre’s backup…

You should take cover in Round Rock because Joey Gallo is about to make it rain baseballs. The current super prospect has been told he’s a third baseman, and will spend his 2016 furthering his development at that position. We all loved seeing Gobbles up in 2015. He got his feet wet, learned some things, and took his lessons back to the minors. That said, the best possible outcome for Texas now and later is for Gallo to grow in the minors as long as he can. Alberto being there for Belts allows for Gallo to stay at the hot corner instead of exploring a potential left field move…

Which also means Nomar Mazara suddenly becomes a more interesting figure. Mazara is another super prospect who projects as a corner outfielder. Many people are wondering whether Maz could slide into left field right now out of camp. The likelihood is he could, but the lack of a guarantee decreases the incentive for Texas to try that. The soon to be 21-year-old has all the tools to be a franchise cornerstone in a corner outfield spot with a little more seasoning. He can now receive that seasoning…

Because Ian Desmond is about to play left field for the Texas Rangers.

So before you even consider what Desmond might do for Texas at the plate or in the field, his signing sets in motion the future for seven different baseball players. That’s just the ones that I thought of. You can likely connect the dots and find an even larger web of connectivity.

We don’t know what kind of impact Desmond will have for Texas in a baseball sense. We can project based on prior record, but we can’t truly know until he suits up. Just by signing his contract however, he’s made a positive impact on the overall Texas Rangers organization.

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Samuel Hale
When Samuel isn't displeasing you with his opinions about the Texas Rangers, he's trying to corral young broadcasters at UTA Radio. If you buy him pizza and high class chocolate milk, he'll probably be your best friend. Probably. He got to see Texas clinch a World Series berth in person, and sports cried when Pudge Rodriguez went into the Rangers Hall of Fame. He enjoys the Oxford comma and over tweeting.

One comment

  • Laid out the best I’ve seen, good job. The Desmond signing literally means “no holes”. Unless you remember that you’re expecting a possibly declining SS to man left field. Which means LF might still be hole. My head hurts.

    Still not sure Desmond was the best signing; but this FO loves makeup and athleticism, and Desmond apparently comes loaded.

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