Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
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.
- Remember when the Indians said that they were going to start to phase Chief Wahoo out as the primary logo and instead it turned out they were liars? They’re doubling down on the lie, as their uniform modifications have been unveiled and Wahoo is still the key component.
- The Braves’ rebuild looks a lot like it did in 1990, so Atlanta can only hope they have similar results. OK, OK, maybe another World Series or two than they did given how many times they made the postseason.
- The Yankees have supposedly made both Chase Headley and Brett Gardner available to free up payroll. You know, the same Yankees that just paid a ton of money for a closer on a rebuilding team.
- Starlin Castro’s 2017 will determine his future with these Yankees.
- Jose Bautista feels like he’ll stay with the Blue Jays if for no other reason than who else is there?
- The Padres are going to make Austin Hedges their starting catcher, and things should go differently this time: he was pushed to the bigs before he was ready back in 2015, but then he hit 21 homers in 82 games in Triple-A this past summer.
- The White Sox added Derek Holland on an inexpensive deal, and he could be a valuable trade chip in July should he rebound.
- Pablo Sandoval doesn’t need to rebound into being the star player he once was. An average season would do him and the Red Sox a lot of good.