1. Colorado Rockies
Veteran infielder/outfielder Ian Desmond has to be nearly out of chances to keep his starting spot for the Colorado Rockies. Signed last winter to play first base, Desmond has been an unmitigated disaster in Denver. A broken hand suffered in Spring Training limited the 32-year-old to only 95 games. When on the field, Desmond was one of the worst hitters in the league, batting .274/.326/.375.
Desmond’s decline has continued at an even more accelerated rate this season. Through his first 45 games and 173 plate appearances, the two-time All-Star is hitting .175/.231/.363 with seven home runs and 21 RBI. Only the Orioles, with Chris Davis, have gotten worse production from their first basemen.
With the way their roster is constructed and the many slugfests that occur at Coors Field, the Rockies simply cannot run out a lineup with an absolute zero at a key position. Desmond is not longer a viable option, but he is only in the second year of a $70-million deal. Given close to a month in the big leagues, top prospect Ryan McMahon could not prove he was ready to take over and start on a full-time basis.
The Rockies still sport a winning record, but are carrying a negative run differential. The Desmond deal is already regrettable, and Colorado should be considering outside options. There is enough talent at the top of the Rockies farm system to make trading for Jose Abreu a real possibility if the front office decides they’ve seen enough from Desmond — even with three years left on his contract.