The Texas Rangers have reportedly reached out to Ian Desmond's representatives with an interest in deploying the veteran shortstop as a left fielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club is said to be in the middle of preliminary talks with the free agent infielder about making a position switch that could make him a "super-utility" type player.
Although Desmond has spent most of his major league career as a shortstop, multiple teams are supposedly interested in having him play other positions. The 30-year-old Sarasota native endured arguably his worst full season in the Majors in 2015. However, he did rebound with a .262/.331/.446 during the second half.
Should Desmond be added to the Rangers roster as a left field, there might be some learning curve to address as he had started only six games in a position other than short: five at second base and one in right field. His offense has also declined each year since a 2012 career-best season when he had a .292 batting average, .335 OBP and .511 slugging percentage.
Moreover, there are significant obstacles to pursuing a deal with the free agent; the biggest of them is perhaps finances. Texas' payroll is expected to be flat from its 2015 figure of $141.5 million, and the Rangers are already predicted to exceed that slightly, Dallas News pointed out. At the very least, Desmond would require a major league contract in excess of $5 million. Furthermore, the Rangers would have to surrender their No. 19 overall pick in the draft as Desmond already received a qualifying offer from the Washington Nationals.
In other Rangers roster updates, the club has re-signed Drew Stubbs on Saturday and added him to its pool of outfield depth shortly following news of Josh Hamilton's knee injury. Aside from Stubbs, Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinsona could also be ready to be called upon close to the All-Star break.
The 31-year-old Stubbs finished his previous season with the Rangers, serving mainly as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. He appeared in four of the Rangers' five games in the American League Division Series loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. The center fielder has hit .244 with 152 stolen bases in over 842 major league games with the Cincinnati Reds (2009-12), Cleveland Indians (2013), Colorado Rockies (2014-15), and the Texas Rangers (2015).
"He is a plus defender who can play all three outfield positions," Rangers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Joe Daniels said of Stubbs. "He can really run, and we think there is more in the bat than we saw last year. We'll see where it goes."