Just after the 2013 season the Washington Nationals made their All-Star shortstop, Ian Desmond a contract offer that no one would refuse. Unless, of course, your name is Ian Desmond.
The Nationals offered Desmond a 7 year deal at $107 million. No-brainer for anyone… Take that kind of money to play baseball.
Desmond was had turned 28 just before the end of the 2013 regular season. The offer would’ve locked Desmond up in D.C. to age 35. Desmond was set to become a free agent after the 2015 season, so the contract would’ve bought out 2 arbitration years and 5 free agent years at a little over $15 million a year.
Desmond said no to $107 million betting on himself that he could make more. It wasn’t a bad thought. Players at equal or maybe less value were getting similar offers. So 2 more years similar to his career numbers, Desmond could’ve gotten maybe close to $150 million after 2015.
Well… Things don’t always go as planned. Desmond’s average dropped from .280 in 2013 to .255 in 2014, and again to .233 in 2015. The strikeout numbers went up as well. Not exactly what you want to do after turning down $107 million and going to free agency.
Desmond settled prior to 2016 with a free agent deal in Texas. 1 year, $8 million. Yikes. About half of what he would’ve gotten per year and only for 1 year.
Luckily, Desmond bounced back in 2016 with a .285 average, 22 HR and 86 RBI and earned an All Star appearance. He moved from shortstop to the outfield in Texas and regained his value.
Now at 31 years old, Desmond signed a 5 year deal worth $70 million to play in Colorado with the Rockies. Desmond got $6.5 million in 2014 during his 2nd arbitration year and $11 million in 2015 for his 3rd year. Add that with the $8 million in 2016 and his new contract, and Desmond will get just under $12 million over those 8 years. A little less than the $15.3 million per year if he signed before 2014.
He learned though. Dug himself out of the hole in Texas and wound up with a nice pay day and a chance to play in a hitter’s paradise out west. Should’ve taken the first money, but well done, Ian.
Dexter Fowler didn’t walk away from over $100 million on the table, but he took a chance on himself as well. His worked out a little bit more in his favor than Desmond’s.
Fowler was a free agent after 2015 and was said to have signed a 3 year, $35 million contract to play in Baltimore. The agreement was in place, but he decided at the last second to turn it down and sign a 1 year, $8 million deal to resign with the Cubs. That was a smart choice.
Fowler didn’t know he had big money waiting for him in 2017. He bet on himself, had a great year, won a World Series, and bypassed his player option for 2017 for $9 million in Chicago to agree to a 5 year, $82.5 million deal with the Cardinals.
To me, this sucks. It was great knowing that the starting center fielder of the World Champions and division rival Cubs had a great chance to leave the NL Central and play somewhere else. But nope, he wound up in St. Louis where he can continue to smash the Pirates.
Good for you Dexter. You earned that contract. But I liked watching you be good with the Rockies. Quit being good against my team 18-19 times a year.