Desmond’s switch will come on the eve of free agency as he seeks what will be the largest contract of his life. The 31-year-old notoriously rejected a qualifying offer from the Nationals last offseason, and while it’s not known exactly what he sought upon initially entering the open market on the heels of a down season, he ultimately settled for a late one-year deal in February that came with just an $8MM guarantee and a position change. Desmond is also known to have turned down a seven-year extension offer with the Nats prior to the 2014 season that would’ve paid him about $107MM, though it reportedly came with significant deferrals.
Furthermore, on the heels of a terrific first season in Texas, Desmond stands a good chance at recouping a good portion of that missed fortune. He’s already taken home $25.5MM over what would’ve been the first three seasons of that deal, and he could very well secure a contract of at least four years this winter after hitting .285/.335/.446 with 22 homers and 21 steals while proving a capable outfielder during the 2016 season. Desmond drew positive marks for his work in left field according to both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, and while he took home negative marks as a center fielder, he didn’t rate horribly and could be reasonably expected to show some improvement with a full season of work now under his belt. It’s also possible that Desmond could also market himself as a Ben Zobrist-style Swiss army knife that can play multiple positions in the infield and the outfield, which would allow teams with needs virtually anywhere on the diamond to consider him a viable option for improvement.
In joining CAA, Desmond will be enlisting one of the game’s larger agencies, one whose current slate of free agents includes Yoenis Cespedes (in a joint representation with Roc Nation Sports), Andrew Cashner, a resurgent Joe Blanton, Jon Jay, Boone Logan, Jake Peavy, Drew Storen and Ryan Howard. All of that info, of course, can be found in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which contains agent information on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players (and now reflects Desmond’s switch). If you see any notable errors or omissions, please let us know via email: [email protected].