Seattle Mariners Rumors: Free Agent Shortstop Ian Desmond Linked To Mariners

Seattle Mariners rumors now link the team to free agent shortstop Ian Desmond. The Mariners could sign Desmond during the MLB offseason, with the ability to then play him at shortstop or in a corner outfield position. It is in a report by Fox Sports that the Mariners have been attached to Desmond as a possible landing spot for the 2017 MLB season. Baseball analyst Dieter Kurtenbach feels that the Mariners and Desmond are a good fit and that he could immediately help improve the offense even further.

“The shortstop turned outfielder sticks with the long glove after the Mariners, looking to make a push in the AL West, sign him to a deal in the ballpark of what he was looking for before last season. The M’s get their glue guy.”

Ian Desmond played the 2016 MLB season with the Texas Rangers on a one-year deal. The Rangers offered him $8 million after Desmond turned down a qualifying offer from the Washington Nationals that was worth about $15.8 million. Desmond was looking for a long-term contract from the Nationals and then from a new club in free agency, but it never materialized as other general managers weren’t sure that he was worth the big dollars. After a very successful season with the Rangers, his price may have gone up.

[Image by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]

These Seattle Mariners rumors do make sense for the team, as acquiring a player like Ian Desmond could give the team a perfect hitter to place in front of Robinson Cano in the batting order. Last season, Desmond had 677 plate appearances over 156 games for the Texas Rangers. He posted a.285 batting average, 22 home runs, 86 RBI’s, 107 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases. This earned him a spot on the American League All-Star team.

With depth at all the infield positions, the Rangers moved Desmond from shortstop to the outfield. He played 130 games in center field and 29 games in left field, but had been an above-average shortstop before the move. He could get used at either position depending on the needs of the teams pursuing him through free agency.

At shortstop for the Seattle Mariners during a majority of the 2016 MLB season was Ketel Marte, who had some defensive problems. Starting 116 games, he had 21 errors, including several that were very costly down the stretch. Marte also had struggles at the plate, posting a.259 batting average and.610 OPS in 466 plate appearances. Marte is under team control for at least four more seasons, though, making him a cheap option for the front office.

A report by the Star-Telegram states that Ian Desmond has already turned down a new qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers. This one-year deal would have been worth $17.2 million to Desmond, but the potential of making more money in a long-term free agent contract convinced him to decline it. It is now expected that he would want a higher yearly salary to sign with a new team.

Ian Desmond Defense
[Image by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images]

So could these Seattle Mariners rumors lead to some action from the front office? On paper, Ian Desmond seems like a player who would be a good fit for the Mariners, but it would cost the team a first-round draft pick in order to sign him. The first 10 selections are protected during the draft, but Seattle officially has the No. 18 selection. If the Mariners sign Desmond, that pick will go to the Texas Rangers, costing the Mariners a shot at a good prospect.

In regard to how much it might cost to sign him, Desmond could be looking for a deal of about five or six years and a value of about $100 million. That could be a very expensive acquisition for the Mariners, but it would also answer some pertinent questions about defense and the batting order for the 2017 MLB season. These Seattle Mariners rumors might be enticing to fans as well, but it’s important to point out that other teams could also be a good fit for him and that general manager Jerry Dipoto is typically very secretive about any ongoing negotiations.

[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]