DENVER – When the Colorado Rockies signed Ian Desmond to the largest free-agent contract in franchise history at $70 million over the next five years, many if not most responded with surprise at best and utter contempt at worst. The deal was rated by a number of national writers among the worst moves of the offseason. Detractors were especially confused by the Rockies declaration that they intended to make Desmond the starting first baseman, a position he had never played before.
The two-time All-Star, as a shortstop and outfielder, suddenly found himself embroiled in controversy by the simple innocuous act of being a good baseball player who signed a big contract. Things got even more complicated when Desmond was sidelined with a broken hand in spring training and his replacement, Mark Reynolds, went thermonuclear to begin the 2017 season, leaving many to wonder if the Rockies had made a $70 million mistake.
Those who defended the move (guilty as charged) kept coming back to one central point with regards to Desmond that often boiled down to just one word; versatility. And that was going to have to be a major factor with how well Colorado was playing with him out.
Desmond has been back in the lineup for 12 games now and has played most of them in left field, doing exactly what he was supposed to do — move around the diamond to accommodate the best possible offense without losing anything defensively. He is hitting .313 with a pair of home runs and seven RBI.
BSN Denver caught up with Desmond before Saturday night’s game against the Dodgers where he will again be asked to change roles slightly for the betterment of the team. He will be batting second for the first time this season
“I honestly didn’t know I was hitting second until you just told me but it’s something I’m comfortable doing. I did it all year last year, I’ve had some success there, I feel like I can help the team.”
He says he doesn’t change anything based on where in the lineup he is slotted to hit.
“I’m gonna stick with my approach,” he says. “I’m gonna stick with my preparation, and just try to have quality at-bats. That’s my goal every day and no matter where I hit in the lineup, that’s what I’m trying to bring to the team.”
And as far as the injury or rust concerns go?
I’m ready,” he says. “I think that’s the only mindset I can have. We’re live. So I’m live.”