According to Jon Morosi, Ian Desmond is already garnering some interest on the free agent market:
Desmond arrested his downward spiral with a strong 2016, hitting .285/.335/.446 with 22 homers and 21 stolen bases for the Texas Rangers and switching from shortstop to left and center field. He was worth somewhere around three wins above replacement and made the All Star Team for the second time in his career.
While Desmond didn’t grade out well in center defensively, he probably would be good in a corner and his versatility is a major asset. He also has good power from the right-hand side.
There would be some concern, however, that Desmond’s bounceback 2016 may not hold up going forward. The move to Texas, for instance, boosted his numbers significantly, and his batting average was buoyed by a .350 BABIP. Desmond also struggled mightily in the second half, hitting just .237/.283/.347 over his last 67 games. He also will be 31 next year.
Desmond was burned when he was tagged with a qualifying offer last year, as few were interested in forfeiting a first round pick for him. He signed a one year deal at a deep discount to play in Texas, and the Rangers reaped the benefits. The same thing could play out in 2017, as Desmond figures to be something of a Tweener. And due to age and natural decline, he may not be worth the money over the course of the three year deal he’s likely to get. But with so few good options available in free agency, expect him to reject the QO and be in high demand anyway among teams looking for a quick fix in the outfield.
That the Orioles would be one of those interested parties isn’t a big surprise. They crave and collect power bats and don’t mind strikeouts. They also have a big hole opening in their lineup with MLB home run leader Mark Trumbo hitting free agency. The Orioles also have demonstrated that they don’t care much about their draft picks in the past, forfeiting theirs to chase Yovani Gallardo last year, and Ubaldo Jimenez prior to 2014. It would definitely be a match, if the price is right.