You don’t often feel badly for athletes who sign $8 million deals, but there’s a fair amount of sympathy this weekend for Ian Desmond, the former Nats shortstop who reportedly signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Rangers on Sunday. For reasons that seemed to make sense at the time, Desmond turned down a seven-year, $107-million contract extension offer from the Nats. That’s quite a bit more money than $8 million.
Perhaps no one was more stunned than Jim Bowden, the former Nats GM who spent years singing Desmond’s praise.
“I’m in a state of shock,” Bowden said on his SiriusXM MLB Network Radio program Sunday morning. “So [Howie] Kendrick gets 20 [million] for two [years], Desmond gets one year at eight. I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. … That’s a shocking number. What a great job by [Rangers GM] Jon Daniels to hang around long enough to get Desmond for one year at eight. So he went from 107 million to losing 99 million over the last 12 months? You want to talk about a humbling sport? How does a player’s value go from 107 to [eight]?”
Bowden wasn’t the only baseball insider wondering this.
$8 million isn’t chump change. But, wow, Ian Desmond left a lot of money on the table over the last two years.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 28, 2016
Remember when Ian Desmond turned down the Nats' offer of a 7-year, $107 million extension before spring training in 2014? Remember that?
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 28, 2016
A natural question re:TEX's 1-year deal with Ian Desmond to play LF: Could he have done better if he'd been marketed as utility immediately?
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 28, 2016
Nobody got a better bargain this winter than the #Rangers one-year,$8 million deal with Ian Desmond
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 28, 2016
Bowden’s co-host, Jim Duquette, shared in the sympathy for Desmond.
“Here he is at age 30, giving up the position at shortstop for the most part,” Duquette said. “Now maybe that’s not the case. Maybe he’ll go back on the market next year as a shortstop. But we’ve talked about this quite a bit: the agent has not done a very good job in this particular deal, obviously turning down the money with the Nationals. But to now look at him in left field, on a one-year deal? I’m sorry. That’s about as bad as it gets for the kid, and I feel bad, because we know what kind of player he is and we know what kind of makeup he is. There should have been a multi-year deal out there somewhere.”
Bowden — who said in 2005 that Desmond reminded him of Derek Jeter, and that the Nationals should have taken the shortstop in the first round — went further.
“I’m shocked and I’m stunned at the number,” he said. “I like the fit with Texas. I like him in left field. Eight million dollars? You talk about the worst negotiated contract that we’ve seen in the last five years. Is there a worse deal that we have ever seen, EVER? I have never seen a worse contract, ever. Ever, for a player. You can’t tell me you can’t even get $10 million on a one-year deal? You can’t get Kendrick’s deal? Wow. That’s a stunner.”
And so, people felt bad for the guy getting $8 million.
If someone making eight million could ever be sad, this is it. https://t.co/LhHibT3RR8
— Chris Mottram (@ChrisMottram) February 28, 2016
I feel for Ian Desmond. He's a good dude. Hope bandbox in Arlington treats him well
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) February 28, 2016
Hard to feel bad for a guy who's going to make 8 million to play baseball, but damn Ian Desmond…. #TakeTheCashNextTime
— Get Mendoza (@TroyandRoy21) February 28, 2016
I do feel for Ian Desmond. I hope he plays well enough for another long term deal, though if he's not at SS, I'm not sure if it'll happen.
— Aaron Oster (@TheAOster) February 28, 2016