The Padres have reported interested in former Nationals shortstop, Ian Desmond. The Padres front office brass covets Desmond’s leadership, and baseball instincts — along with his track record for producing.
Desmond, 30, is coming off a down year both offensively, and defensively. That doesn’t bode well for someone who turned down a lucrative offer from his former aforementioned team, the Washington Nationals. In addition, most teams are set at shortstop, which suffice it to say, doesn’t play in his favor either. Of course some teams could look to upgrade, but many will have to sacrifice a 1st-round draft pick for his services. Another hindrance for Desmond considering all the aforestated obsticles on a bleak market. The Padres have their 1st-round draft pick protected. They would only lose one of their 2nd-round picks, and in a draft that has been perceived as thin, wouldn’t be bad time to finally add at such a weak spot on the roster.
That said, that places the Padres in a rare position to benefit from such previous highly regarded player, (despite some regression) and at a position that has been desolate since the stellar years of fan favorite, Khalil Greene.
It is hard to imagine Desmond commanding at least a 3-year contact, even despite some of the industry perception flaws. However, the Padres have a very highly touted top shortstop prospect — Javier Gurrera (who came over in the Kimbrel trade) who’s ETA would almost certainly come to fruition while the Padres were hypothetically under team control of Desmond.
That leads to a few questions:
- Would such a move block another young player with impact potential on the MLB level?
- How would the Padres entice Desmond for his service, after a very bad year for the Padres, in a park that surely won’t benefit his career peripherals?
- What would the Padres do when Gurrera was ready, and Desmond was still under contract to avoid blocking him?
First, the Padres need a shortstop now, and would benefit from the weak market for Desmond, not having to surrender a 1st-round draft pick, or paying through the teeth because of the regression he’s shown.
Second, A.J. Preller is known to be creative, and could take a stance that — when Gurrera is ready, the Padres could sell Desmond on playing third base. The Padres have Yangarvis Solarte, who faired very well last year, and was projected by Steamers to have a 2.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). But the aggressive Preller, could always use a player with peak value, to fill another area of need. That said, it should be noted, Desmond is a true shortstop and regarded highly there, despite fan perception and small samples of below average play.
Third, As I suggested with Solarte, you could use a premium position in Desmond, and almost a lock to show some improvements across the board, as a trade-deadline chip when Gurrera is ready.
The bottom line:
The Padres could use him to flip for another area of need when or if necessary. I mean, prospects are great, but there’s never a guarantee, where as we know Desmond will be productive while he’s in his prime year’s.
The Padres should capitalize on a bleak market, while most teams do not have a desperate need for a shortstop like the Padres do. Whether you’re banking on him to play throughout the duration of his contract, or as a trading chip, either way this is a perfect storm for Preller and the Padres to exploit the aforementioned leverage.
Mickey Koke, Guest writer for Padres360