We are now into January and Ian Desmond still has the same contract he had at the end of 2013. After two straight National League Silver Sluggers Desmond should be getting an extension very soon. Out of the now three players that I have analyzed about getting an extension, Desmond is the only one I believe deserves one at this moment.
He has proved himself to be durable and has gotten better each season. It isn’t just at the plate that he has been good, his defense has improved as well. His range factor went up almost an entire point in 2013 from the previous season and should stay around the 4.50 range in 2014. He has worked hard to improve his entire game and it is showing.
Now the only question is, how many years and how much money do you give him?
First off let’s look at years. He will be 28 through the entire 2014 regular season, turning 29 on September 20th. So you have to take his age into account when giving out a contract. The Nationals will want him for his entire prime plus a few years after, just to make sure they get the best baseball he can possibly give.
Looking at it now with the way the payroll is sitting and extensions to possibly come down the road, I would give him a six year deal. That guarantees that the Nats have control of him through his age 34 season. Around that age players start to see a decline in production, especially middle infielders. The good thing about an extension is you don’t have to make it for a massive amount of years, and you can extend on that current extension at anytime. If he proves worthy of an extra two seasons then you have the ability to make that happen.
Six years could be a little much, but for the production he has provided it is worth the risk in my opinion.
Now the money side of the deal. This is what really matters. The Nationals have to be smart about how much dough they throw at Desmond. They still have a possibility of having to sign Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper to long term deals as well. The Nats have to be flexible in their spending and so does the player.
At this point I could see $130 million over six years. He is a dominate player at his position, in his league and deserves to be paid like it. This deal could also be front loaded money wise, to make it more worth the Nationals while and have a little bit of extra money on the back end, in case of an extension to another top notch player.
If you look at the money and split it evenly only the six years it comes out to just over $21 million a season. Strasburg becomes a free agent in 2017, so if you front load the Desmond deal and make it $24 over the first three seasons, you have an extra nine million to spend on Strasburg/Harper. That is if the deal gets done before the 2014 season begins.
That is the way I see it playing out for Desmond and the Nats. If they can get a deal done before the ’14 season begins it will be better for everyone involved. The deal can be one year longer and the money can be more front loaded in case of an extension to another player.
I would also like to get your opinion on this. How much is Ian Desmond worth? Comment below with the amount of years and dollar amount you would give the two-time Silver Slugger winner.