Rays beat writer Marc Topkin revisited the team's interest in SS Ian Desmond again this week, and this time included some contributing factors to what appears to be mutual interest between club an player.
Desmond has indicated he would like to play for the Rays
Last night we got word that the Rays indeed have interest in signing Ian Desmond, and now we have confirmation from Topkin that the feeling is mutual. Well that's enough for me to say let's get this done!
The contributing factors, as reported in the article, include:
- Desmond is from Sarasota
- Desmond is represented by the same agency as Rays manager Kevin Cash (Sports One Athlete Management)
- Desmond is close friends with Rays OF Steven Souza Jr.
The importance of Desmond's relationship with Souza should not be discounted. When he was traded for the Rays, Souza chose the Number 20 as a tribute to Desmond, who he described to Marc Topkin as, "his close friend, former teammate and main mentor."
The focus of the article then turns to the idea of Desmond signing with the Rays for a one-year deal.
If they signed Desmond for a year and he became a free agent after the season, the Rays would be in a position to get an extra pick back in 2017, though between the first and second rounds. So it could come down to whether they got enough of a bargain on the salary to make it worthwhile to give up the draft pick.
We did not visit this premise in our earlier article exploring one- and four-year deals for Ian Desmond, as the Rays interest appears to be for Ian Desmond at a bargain rate.
In order to re-gain a late first-round draft pick in 2017, the Rays would have to offer Desmond a Qualifying Offer at the end of this season, which could be a contract worth well over $16 million. No player has ever earned that much money on a one year deal in Tampa Bay history, and the team would be rolling the dice by offering the contract and hoping the player would not sign.
Assuming there was a handshake deal in place to part ways after this season, freeing Desmond to enter next year's somewhat-barren free agent market, and assuming that the Rays had a back up plan for Brad Miller's role on the team, a one-year deal could become a very real discussion.
If the Rays were able to recoup the lost value between the 13th pick in 2016 and a late-first round pick in 2017, signing Desmond to a one-year deal becomes quite plausible.