Some teams are considering the possibility of signing shortstop Ian Desmond and having him play outfield, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes (Twitter links). Desmond is also attracting interest as a second baseman and third baseman.
Theoretically, Desmond’s ability (or apparent ability — he hasn’t appeared in a game anywhere other than shortstop since 2010) could widen the field of teams interested in signing him, which is probably why it emerged last month that his representation was marketing his ability to play multiple positions. As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted at the time, though, much of Desmond’s value at this point is tied to his ability to play a decent defensive shortstop, in spite of his high error totals. Desmond’s 2015 line (.233/.290/.384) would have been weak for an outfielder, but as a shortstop, Desmond was still able to accumulate 1.7 fWAR.
It might be, however, that Desmond’s apparent willingness and ability to move around the diamond might provide a team planning on signing him long-term with a way to hedge its bets. If Desmond is able to play the outfield and other defensive positions, he might be able to move from shortstop into a different role if his defense slips over the course of his next contract.