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The Rockies still think Ian Desmond is a 1st baseman

Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes the Rockies feeling too comfortable with Desmond, and the Indians still lying about Chief Wahoo.

Division Series - Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Three Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

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Ian Desmond has never been a first baseman in the majors, but the Rockies plan on playing him there. He is also unlikely to be a good first baseman, given his bat is good for a shortstop and can be good enough in the right outfield spot. However, it's far too light for an offense-first position like first. Desmond hit .285/.335/.446 last season, good for just a slightly above-average 104 OPS+. On the road, Desmond batted all of .241/.305/.398, with most of his offense coming in Texas. In the second half, even Arlington couldn’t save him, as he hit .246/.293/.356 from early July onward — that, and his road line, are alarmingly close to the horrible 2015 season that forced him to sign a one-year deal to begin with. Meanwhile, the average first baseman batted .259/.338/.453 for a 114 OPS+, a line Desmond only approached superficially thanks to his home park.

The Rockies’ GM, Jeff Bridich, has told outfielder Charlie Blackmon to take trade rumors with a "huge grain of salt." This matters, given that the Desmond deal makes a lot more sense if Colorado moves someone around, either in a trade or to first base, in order for Colorado to not be in a position where Desmond is their first baseman. They might still just be saying these things as leverage for deals elsewhere, so the other 29 teams don’t think they’re desperate to make a move to save themselves from, well, themselves. You have to hope that’s the case, since as Grant Brisbee wrote when this deal happened, signing Desmond to be the first baseman is a horrible waste.

Five years and $70 million for Desmond in the hopes he can pick up on first base defensively and also hit well enough there to justify the transaction. This in a market where Justin Turner ended up signing for less, where Edwin Encarnacion is still looking for a job, where even Mark Trumbo would be a superior option given he could actually take advantage of Coors in ways that the grounder-centric Desmond might not. Rockies fans better hope Bridich is playing some kind of leverage-based long game here, because five years of Desmond could very easily be five years of misery given his offensive woes the past couple of years.