Report: Rockies interested in Ian Desmond, but will wait for MLB’s decision on Jose Reyes

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested back in November for allegedly assaulting his wife. He pled not guilty and will stand trial on April 4. Though commissioner Rob Manfred will take his time in handling this issue, he does not need to wait for a verdict to levy a punishment.

Knowing this, the Rockies may be without their starting shortstop for a significant amount of time. Behind Reyes on the depth chart are Daniel Descalso and Cristhian Adames, who are decidedly not Jose Reyes. So it’s not that shocking to learn that the Rockies have interest in free agent shortstop Ian Desmond, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Rockies, however, prefer to wait for a decision on Reyes from Major League Baseball before inking Desmond to a contract.

It’s a sticky situation. If Reyes isn’t suspended and the Rockies sign Desmond, then they have a logjam at shortstop with both players wanting a starting role. The only open position would be at first base but it’s not exactly a given that either player would be more productive at a more offensively-demanding position than current first baseman Ben Paulsen. But what if Reyes is suspended and the Rockies don’t secure a backup plan? Or, as Rosenthal notes, without a backup plan, then more of the spotlight will be shone on Reyes, which could make him a distraction during spring training.

Desmond, 30, is coming off of a disappointing season with the Nationals. He hit .233/.290/.384 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI over 641 plate appearances. That followed up three consecutive 20-homer, 20-stolen base seasons. Desmond could be poised for a bounce-back year, particularly playing half his games at Coors Field, but his age might be a detriment as well.

Desmond turned down the Nationals’ $15.8 million qualifying offer. The Rockies, though, tied with the Athletics at 68-94 for the fourth-worst record in baseball during the 2015 regular season. As a result, their first-round draft pick is protected and would not be forfeited by signing a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer.

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