The Chicago White Sox are among the organizations considering free agent shortstop Ian Desmond, per CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. The 30-year-old All-Star is one of just three remaining free agents to have turned down a qualifying offer earlier this offseason, though Yovani Gallardo is reportedly close to a deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
Chisox are among teams considering Desmond. He'd be good fit there, better than another OF. Will discuss on @MLBNetwork at 6— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 11, 2016
Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos, Desmond has spent the entirety of his career to date with the Washington Nationals. He has since emerged as one of the better shortstops in baseball, particularly offensively, winning a trio of Silver Sluggers while hitting for a 114 OPS+ and 13.5 WAR from 2012 to 2014. However, Desmond's performance dropped significantly in 2015, as he hit just .233/.290/.384 with poor defense, leading to a 1.7 WAR. Still, a dip in his BABIP and a resurgent second half (he hit .262/.331/.446) provide some points of optimism. Because of his disappointing year, it's not unreasonable to see Desmond considering a short-term deal in hopes of hitting the market after a return to form.
Desmond's addition would allow the White Sox to use Tyler Saladino, a strong defender but weak hitter, in more of a utility role. While Desmond is certainly risky, he would represent an upgrade, especially in terms of upside, for a lineup that has been bolstered this winter. Desmond would slot into a revamped infield that features new arrivals Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, as well as the returning Jose Abreu. Along with the aforementioned names, the White Sox have also added the likes of Alex Avila, Dioner Navarro, and Mat Latos, giving them a reasonable chance to contend in the upcoming season.
The market for Desmond has been seemingly slow to develop. The Rays have been among the the teams linked to Desmond, however, their interest has been categorized as a "long shot" given their reluctance to part with their first round draft selection.
Giving up a draft pick could also be a roadblock for Chicago signing Desmond, however, given that the White Sox' first round pick (10th overall) is protected, they would only be forced to give up the 28th overall pick, which they received as compensation for Jeff Samardzija signing with the Giants.