I’m OK Without Desmond

Seriously, I am. I’ll get by. Ian Desmond is, in my opinion, the best position prospect this team is going to have this year. He looked good in the fall and he had a great year in the minors. Meanwhile, they have a shortstop on his way out the door in Cristian Guzman. So it made the most sense to me when they said they were gonna put Desmond at SS and move Guzman to 2B. Desmond hit great everywhere he went, and his defense has been criticized but not because he can’t field. In fact, he has very good range and very good hands and a cannon for an arm. The problem, to refresh your memory, is that he tends to bobble easy stuff or throw the ball away… you know, he has the yips, as they say. Not sure who says that, but apparently now I do. So I figured, Desmond could work on his concentration and not rushing up at the major league level, where the team presumably has their best coaches.

Of course, things didn’t work out that way, and the Nats hired a second baseman named Adam Kennedy to start.

That meant either DON’T shift Guzman over and let him start at short, shuffle the guys in and out, or don’t play Desmond. If Guzzie and Kennedy are starting, then Desmond either sits on the bench 4 or 5 games a week and plays part time in each position, he plays even less part time at SS only, or he goes down to AAA and plays every day. Well, according to the reporter we all hired to go down to Viera, Desmond is gonna play shortstop, saying that Mike Rizzo has said, “Ian Desmond is going to focus on playing shortstop and will man that position no matter where he opens the season.”

Zuckerman goes on to report that Desmond has been taking drills with the rest of the infield and has practiced a bit at 2B, but the point remains, Rizzo has said he’s gonna be a SS. This probably means that he’ll be playing SS in Syracuse, according to Zuckerman, and I agree. Why? Because he’s not going to beat out Guzman for the starting job – that would kill any trade value from Guzman before the deadline – and he’s not going to be a utility guy if he’s manning SS.

I am extremely ok with this, because it is much more important to have Desmond playing every day and playing SS than being on the MLB roster. Guzman’s days here are numbered, and as long as Desmond shows he can play effectively, I’m guessing he’ll be the starter soon after the trade deadline, regardless of whether or not Guzman gets moved. The most important thing for Desmond’s development is daily starts, 4 ABs a day, and practice practice practice with fielding. I’d rather see him playing with the big boy club, but I understand the logic in not having him up there yet. Of course, there are very few scenarios come July that I’ll be ok with where he’s not the starter.

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