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.
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.