Now that Yoenis Cespedes has re-signed with the New York Mets, will the Chicago White Sox turn their attention another free agent? That being shortstop Ian Desmond. Would Desmond look good on the South Side?
Desmond comes with some positives and negatives. First, he is a very good hitter for a shortstop. On average, he will hit over 20 home runs per season (25 career high-2012) and will drive in some runs as well (91 RBI’s career high-2014). While he won’t hit for a particularly high average, it isn’t as though he will hit in the .220’s. Desmond has a career batting average of .264, which is good to go along with his power.
One downside to Desmond’s offensive game is the fact that he will strike out a lot. He struck out over 180 times the last two years, and has fanned over 140 times before. Another issue with this is that he doesn’t walk much. With a career high of 46 walks, and a high propensity of striking out, he would be a frustrating hitter to watch.
Speed is an asset of Desmond’s, and he knows how to steal bases. He stole more than 20 bags for four consecutive seasons, which was broken in 2015 when he only swiped 13 bases. Desmond also seems to be able to find the gaps as well. He has doubled no less than 26 times in the last six seasons (high of 38 in 2013), not to mention he will hit a few triples as well (career high of 5 in 2011).
One glaring weakness that Desmond has is in the field. He has committed 147 errors at shortstop since he broke into the league in 2009, giving him a fielding percentage of .962% (at shortstop). Outside of 2012, he makes over 20 errors a year regularly (only 15 errors that season), and committed 34 in 2010. Desmond made 27 errors in 2015, and considering the fact that he plays a premium defensive position, I wonder how good of an idea it is to sign him?
Overall, Desmond is a very good, but extremely flawed player. Now, on to the actual idea of the White Sox signing him. Keep in mind if they do, they will lose the 28th pick in the draft, not to mention sign a flawed player.
Just by looking over these statistics, he reminds me of a former White Sox shortstop. That would be Jose Valentin. I understand Desmond has some Alexei Ramirez in him as well, and is a better player than Valentin, however I would caution the White Sox against signing him.
I realize they need offense, however they may want to look elsewhere. Granted I don’t know all of their options, so keep that in mind if they do sign Desmond.
Shortstop is a position where you can’t make defensive mistakes. This team needs high IQ ballplayers, not just great talents. Keep that in mind, White Sox fans.