After a great bounce-back year with the Texas Rangers in 2016, center fielder Ian Desmond is already generating interest on the free-agent market. 

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Orioles Reportedly Interested in Desmond

Tuesday, Nov. 8

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Baltimore Orioles are keeping tabs on Desmond with the intention of moving him to left or right field, should they manage to sign him.

Desmond Coming Off Bounce-Back 2016

The Rangers gave Desmond a $17.2 million qualifying offer on Monday, per Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram, but testing the free-agent waters seems likely since his strong 2016 could land him a lucrative, multiyear deal.

The 31-year-old veteran made his second All-Star team in 2016 and ended the campaign hitting .285 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 21 stolen bases and a career-high 107 runs scored.

It represented a return to prominence for Desmond after one of his worst seasons in 2015, when he hit a career-low .233 with 19 homers and 62 RBI for the Washington Nationals.

Desmond restored his value last season not only due to his prowess at the plate but also because he showed defensive versatility by successfully transitioning to the outfield after playing shortstop almost exclusively in his seven years with the Nats.

According to Morosi, Desmond intends to use that versatility to his advantage:

With Mark Trumbo likely to hit free agency and cash in significantly after hitting a career-high 47 home runs with the O’s last season, corner outfield is a major position of need.

Adam Jones already has center field locked down, but Desmond could be a great fit in left or right. He doesn’t bring the same type of power to the table that Trumbo does, but he represents a defensive upgrade and could fill in for J.J. Hardy at short when needed.

The market was light for Desmond last year, but that doesn’t figure to be the case this time around. Baltimore makes plenty of sense as a potential suitor and presents Desmond with a ballpark that is favorable for hitters, but the Orioles are likely to be just one of many teams courting Desmond and his all-around skill set.


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