The Rangers have signed former All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond to a one-year deal, according to a source.
Desmond, 30, will play left field for the Rangers. Texas will lose its No. 19 pick in the June first-year players draft with the signing. The club can retain another compensatory pick (sandwiched between the first and second round) by extending a qualifying offer to Desmond after the 2016 season.
If I’m healthy and I’m hitting I’m going to play. If Desmond is playing and he’s hitting, he’s going to play. And I’m OK with that.
The Rangers are signing Desmond for $8 million, according to a source. He passed a physical Sunday afternoon and will be in camp for Monday morning’s workout. The Rangers and Desmond came to an agreement late Saturday night.
Josh Hamilton met with general manager Jon Daniels and Jeff Banister early Sunday morning and expressed his full support for the move. Hamilton, is expected to miss at least the month of April with left knee soreness.
“They told me they’ve got roster spots to fill and I agree with them 100 percent,” said Hamilton, who will be on crutches for four more days. “I want what’s best for the team. I’m going to do whatever I can on the field to help the team win. But if I’m not there I expect them to put somebody there that’s going to give us the best chance to win. I just told them I think it’ll be a great addition.”
Desmond turned down the Nationals’ $15.8 million qualifying offer in November. In 2013, Desmond turned down a 7-year deal from the Nationals reportedly worth $107 million.
Desmond, who has been a regular at shortstop with the Washington Nationals the past six season, had a down year in 2015. He hit .233 with 19 home runs, 27 doubles and 62 RBI.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus welcomed the move. He said the club told him his starting role will not change.
Ian Desmond has averaged 19 homers, 32 doubles, 75 RBI, 74 runs, 21 stolen bases and a .264 batting average per 162 games in his seven-year career with the Washington Nationals.
“He’s a really good friend. He’s got a really good personality. He’s going to fit right in,” said Andrus, who knows Desmond from the minor leagues. “I’m going to make him feel welcome and comfortable for sure.”
If Desmond regains his previous form at the plate the Rangers may have found their answer in left. Here’s a look at his numbers the past four seasons:
Darvish, Hamels take mound
Yu Darvish will throw off a regular mound Monday morning for the first time since having Tommy John surgery a year ago. He’s scheduled to throw a 15-pitch bullpen session to a catcher crouched in front of the plate to ease his stress. Darvish has previously throws three half-mound sessions of 17, 20 and 25 pitches this spring.
Cole Hamels will pitch an inning in Monday’s first intrasquad game. Among the nine pitchers scheduled to throw an inning, only two (Martin Perez and Cesar Ramos) are throwing two innings.
Third-base coach contingency
The Rangers have brought Class A Hickory manager Spike Owen in to spring camp on an interim basis with third base coach Tony Beasley beginning chemotherapy for rectal cancer Monday morning.
“Obviously, it’s a tough situation and the respect I have for Beas,” said Owen, who previously coached third base for Triple A Round Rock. He was the manager at High A High Desert in 2015. “I’m just going to hold it down for him until he’s back in April.”
Manager Jeff Banister said the club will allow Beasley to work at whatever pace he needs while battling cancer.
“We want to be completely prepared in the worst case scenario that Tony is not able to coach third base at all this year,” he said. “We don't know how Tony will feel. We will let us tell him what he’s capable of on a daily basis.”