The Rockies have declined their 2022 club option on infielder/outfielder Ian Desmond, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. It’d have paid him $15MM, but he’ll instead receive a $2MM buyout.
It’s wholly unsurprising news after Desmond forwent his salary and opted out of both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The former Nationals star signed a five-year, $70MM contract with the Rockies during the 2016 Winter Meetings. It was an unexpected fit, and the Rockies’ attempts to install Desmond as their primary first baseman proved to be a sizable misstep, as Desmond never really found his footing despite the hitter-friendly nature of his home park.
Desmond posted just a .274/.326/.375 batting line (70 wRC+) in his first season with the Rockies and never seemed to gain comfort playing at first base. By 2019, he was back in the outfield full-time and was a bit more productive at the plate, although still nowhere near his previous standard. Ultimately, Desmond suited up for three years with the Rockies and turned in a combined .252/.313/.429 batting line (81 wRC+).
It’s not clear at this time whether Desmond will return to baseball. In announcing his decision to opt out of the season back in February, Desmond used the phrase “for now” and indicated a strong desire to be with his family following a trying year in 2020. As Anna Katherine Clemmons of the New York Times wrote in an April profile of Desmond, he and his wife had recently welcomed their fifth child and he’d recently established the Newtown Connection nonprofit in Sarasota, Fla. — a program that “allows youth to participate in modified, inclusive, and fast-paced baseball activities, drills, and games to develop their skills” and “uses competitive baseball and softball experiences to promote character development and an active lifestyle, instilling the values of leadership, accountability, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence,” per the program’s web site.
Now 36 years old, Desmond is a two-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner who carries a career .263/.315/.427 batting line with matching totals of 181 home runs and 181 stolen bases.